Man accused of threatening elected officials pleads guilty to eight charges

LEBANON, TN – A local man who was accused of threatening multiple public servants and private citizens throughout the middle Tennessee area plead guilty this morning in criminal court. Multiple agencies worked collaboratively in executing search warrants on a property located at Young Road last February as a result of a lengthy investigation on Phillip Wayne Foster.

 “The letters included threats of bodily injury and/or death, bomb threats and threats of distribution or delivery of chemical agents,” stated Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan. “This was a lengthy investigation for our Criminal Investigations Division, led by Detective Mike Barbee, due to the numerous victims and jurisdictions that were involved. They conducted a very thorough investigation which allowed them to build a strong case against Foster in court.”

 Foster plead guilty to eight charges this morning in criminal court for his involvement with sending threatening letters to numerous victims that included multiple elected officials, including numerous judges that are currently or have historically served the State of Tennessee.

 

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*** Do you RECOGNIZE this individual? ***

Deputies responded to the southeast part of Wilson County to investigate a residential burglary. Fortunately, the homeowner had installed video surveillance cameras at his residence which captured the entire burglary.

“This incident is a perfect example of how homeowners can help us capture individuals that commit these types of crimes,” stated Sheriff Robert Bryan. “This gives our detectives a great advantage during these investigations and will help our agency tremendously during prosecution.”

If you know this individual or recognize this vehicle, please call the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division at 615-444-1459. Detectives need your help, and anyone with information related to this incident or any crime can remain anonymous.

Today is #wearblueday to raise awareness of human trafficking

Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide- including right here in Tennessee. It can happen in any community and victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. Traffickers might use violence, manipulation, or false promises of well-paying jobs or romantic relationships to lure victims into trafficking situations.

Language barriers, fear of their traffickers, and/or fear of law enforcement frequently keep victims from seeking help, making human trafficking a hidden crime. Traffickers look for people who are susceptible for a variety of reasons, including psychological or emotional vulnerability, economic hardship, lack of social safety net, natural disasters, or political instability. The trauma caused by the traffickers can be so great that many may not identify themselves as victims or ask for help, even in highly public settings.

Recognizing key indicators of human trafficking is the first step in identifying victims and can help save a life. Not all indicators listed are present in every human trafficking situation, and the presence or absence of any of the indicators is not necessarily proof of human trafficking.

The safety of the public as well as the victim is paramount. Do not attempt to confront a suspected trafficker directly or alert a victim to any suspicions. It is up to law enforcement to investigate suspected cases of human trafficking.

You can click on the following link Work With Us | Homeland Security (dhs.gov) to get more information on how to report human trafficking and/or how to receive help.

Wilson Central/Lebanon High Schools Join Others in Purchasing Bleeding Control Kits

A fundraiser that began in the fall of 2019 but was halted by the March tornado outbreak and COVID-19 has finally come to a completion for School Resource Officers. Critical incidents are something we hope we never have to experience in a school setting, but preparedness in the event that a critical incident could occur is vital to saving lives. Wilson Central and Lebanon High have joined a list of schools throughout Wilson County after School Resource Officers raised enough money through numerous donations from parents, citizens, school clubs and local businesses to fund their original goal of placing a bleeding control kit in every classroom as well as high trafficked areas such as gyms and sports facilities.

Stop The Bleed kits are a resource for schools to use in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives. Health officials say one of the most common contributing factors in trauma-related events is preventable blood loss. The items in these kits help control the loss of blood, leading to better outcomes for those who are injured. SROs Robert Locke (WCHS) and Dusty Burton (LHS) are two that LHS SRO Cpl. Matt McPeak gave a lot of credit to for their assistance in seeking donations. “After we came back for the beginning of this school year, we began fundraising again and thanks to the enormous help from SRO Burton and WCHS SRO Locke (who was instrumental in raising money for Wilson Central), we were able to fund our original goal to place a kit in every classroom among other areas of LHS”, McPeak said. “I cannot possibly mention everyone but I want to express just how thankful we are for the support and donations from these businesses and this community.”

Deer Season: Safety Tips To Keep In Mind While Traveling the Roadways

As deer season continues, there have been numerous vehicle related accidents involving collisions with deer across our area. Although many times they are unavoidable, here are some tips to keep in mind as you travel the roadways.

  • Buckle up! Seat belts are designed to protect you from a collision or sudden stop — which is exactly what happens when you’re faced with a deer on the highway. The easiest way to help you and your family safe is by buckling up.
  • Be observant. Deer crossings are there for a reason — to warn you that the area you’re driving in is heavily populated with deer or common areas deer cross. Be on the lookout and take extra caution when you see these signs. And remember that deer often travel in groups, so where you only see one, chances are there are more around.
  • Recruit your passengers. The more people watching for deer, the better. Tell your passengers to be on the lookout and warn you if they see any deer. Even if they see deer grazing in fields far from the road, this could potentially mean more deer are around and trying to cross over.
  • Signs of the sun — Dawn and dusk are times deer are most active because it’s when they are commonly on the hunt for food. This is also the time of day when visibility is much lower and your vision isn’t at its best.
  • Prep your horn — Deer often fixate on headlights, so it may not be effective enough to just flash your lights. Since they’re easy to spook, brake firmly and honk your horn.
  • Don’t swerve — If it’s apparent that a crash is unavoidable, whether it is a deer or other animal crossing the road, do not swerve. Studies show that more serious crashes occur when drivers swerve to avoid an animal. Swerving could cause you to lose control of your vehicle and possibly roll over or hit another car or object.

137 Positive COVID-19 Tests Reported Saturday; Setting Single Day Record For Wilson County

As COVID-19 cases begin to rise once again, we want to encourage everyone to do their part in keeping our community safe by practicing measures to slow the spread of the virus, such as: frequent hand washing, social distancing, wearing a mask, staying home when feeling sick and getting a COVID-19 test. On Saturday, November 7th, 137 positive COVID-19 tests were reported. This has been the highest number of cases in Wilson County in a single day so far.

 There are many people that are at a high risk because of underlying health issues and we encourage each of you to make the right choice; as we have also encouraged all deputies and staff to do the same. By practicing these measures in an effort to slow down the spread of COVID-19, we remain fully committed to serving our citizens by ensuring proper steps are taken for the safety and well-being of Wilson County.

Multiple Drugs Located Within Minutes in Unrelated Traffic Stops; Two Taken to Jail by Directed Patrol

LEBANON (TN) – Blue Heroin was just one of many opioids discovered by the WCSO’s Directed Patrol Unit Tuesday night after separate traffic stops were conducted within a short amount of time and distance from each other that landed two in jail on multiple drug charges. Deputy Logan Hackett initiated both traffic stops, which were unrelated, while on routine patrol. Maurice D. Bailey (33), of Lebanon, was arrested in the first traffic stop as Deputy Hackett observed a clear baggie containing approximately 2 grams of Blue Heroin laying in the driver side door pocket. Also found on Bailey’s person was a clear baggie containing Hydrocodone pills, $580 in U.S. currency, and approximately 8 more grams of Blue Heroin located in a bag retrieved from Bailey’s pants.

 Shortly thereafter, a second traffic stop was made in which the female passenger was observed by Deputy Jake Smith placing a large bag down her pants while Hackett was talking with the driver of the vehicle. The passenger, identified as Janette L. Redd (30) of Lebanon, was asked to step out of the vehicle by Smith as Deputy Nycole Vaughn arrived on scene to search the female. Inside the large bag was approximately 2 ounces of crystal meth, 27 pills of Alprazolam, 4 pills of Oxycodone, 6 pills of Hyrdrocodone, 1 red pill identified as Morphine, and Marijuana. Deputies also located $1,644 in U.S. currency and $756 in coins.

 “These two arrests will have a fundamental impact on our fight against the opioid crisis,” stated Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan. “Both individuals had large amounts of drugs and U.S. currency on them which indicate their intentions to supply those to people who potentially will form or have already formed an addiction. These are very dangerous drugs that are taking the lives of many people and we are going to continue to hold the ones responsible accountable for their actions.”

 Bailey was charged with Possession with Intent for Resale of Schedule I (Heroin) and Possession with Intent to Resale of Schedule II (Hydrocodone). Redd was charged with Possession with Intent for Resale of Schedule VI (Marijuana), Possession with Intent for Resale of Schedule IV (Alprazolam), Simple Possession of Schedule II (Oxycodone), Simple Possession of Schedule II (Hydrocodone), Simple Possession of Schedule II (Morphine), Drug Paraphernalia and Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Manufacture, Deliver or Sale. Bailey has a total bond amount of $500,000 while Redd has a total bond amount of $74,000.

Burglary Suspect Apprehended by Deputies Charged with Multiple Crimes

LEBANON (TN) – After releasing a video on the WCSO’s Facebook page on October 13th of a burglary and theft that occurred from a local business on East Old Murfreesboro Road, tips started to pour in from viewers that allowed investigators to build a suspect profile on the case. Daniel Austin Duke (25), of Lebanon, was identified as the suspect and taken into custody on multiple charges after leading deputies on a chase Sunday night.

 Deputy Bryce Beaty was able to identify the suspect vehicle while patrolling on Highway 109. As Deputy Beaty caught up with the vehicle, he observed the vehicle failing to maintain its driving lane on several occasions. When Deputy Beaty activated his emergency lights in an attempt to stop the vehicle, the driver (later identified as Duke) sped off at a high rate of speed leading deputies on a chase that ended in a field located off of Beckwith Road.

 “After posting the video of a local business being burglarized on our Facebook page, we immediately started receiving tips that were consistent on one individual that enabled our detectives to investigate Duke as the possible suspect,” stated Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan. “Detective Justin Cagle, who was assigned to the case, took the intel we received and communicated that information to our patrol division and surrounding agencies. Because of Deputy Beaty’s vigilance, Duke is now in custody on a multitude of charges.”

 Duke was transported to the Wilson County Jail and charged with: Theft of Property, Reckless Driving, Burglary of a Motor Vehicle, Evading Arrest x2, Vandalism, Reckless Endangerment, Tampering with Evidence, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of Schedule II (Oxycodone), Possession of Schedule II (Hydrocodone), Possession of Schedule VI (Marijuana), and Driving on a Revoked License x2. Duke remains in jail with a total bond amount of $39,500.

Wilson County Sheriff’s Office Hosting Drug Take Back Day October 24

LEBANON, TN – The Wilson County Sheriff’s Office will be hosting a Drug Take Back Initiative on Saturday, October 24, for anyone wanting to dispose of unwanted and/or expired prescription and non-prescription drugs. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at a drop-off location in the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office front parking lot located at 105 East High Street in Lebanon.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), there were a total of 21,660 pounds of medications that were collected in the state of Tennessee in October of 2019, while 937,443 pounds were collected nationwide. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.
“We strongly encourage you to take this opportunity to clean out your medicine cabinets and get rid of expired or medication you are no longer taking,” Sheriff Robert Bryan said. “Your home medicine cabinet is often where young people begin experimenting with drugs. It’s important to recognize this could happen to someone in your home, including your child, your grandchild or your neighbor’s child. Please take precautions to avoid a tragedy involving your prescription drugs.”
Medications you use for legitimate reasons are often subject to theft, and can lead to addiction and ultimately even drug trafficking. Sheriff Bryan noted that there is a national epidemic of prescription drug abuse that is often the motive in numerous crimes. “We appreciate cooperative efforts such as this one,” Sheriff Bryan said, noting, “We are happy to be able to provide a place where you safely and conveniently dispose of such medicines when they are no longer needed or wanted.”
Anyone who would like to drop off medication or drugs, prescription or other, can drop it off at the event on Saturday, October 24, with no questions asked. No syringes are accepted, whether used or new, also no inhalers or liquids will be accepted.
Thank you for your cooperation.

Over 100 Purses Located in Home of Suspect Linked to Multiple ‘Smash and Grab’ Car Burglaries

LEBANON (TN) – The Wilson County Sheriff’s Office is releasing details and findings of an investigation that lasted over a 6-month period in hopes of identifying more people that were victimized through numerous vehicle burglaries that took place involving multiple jurisdictions. Deputies began noticing a spike in vehicle burglaries throughout Wilson County involving the “smash and grab” method where the suspect shattered the windows to gain entry. Through intelligence sharing, detectives throughout Middle TN began to link information about the specific methods of these crimes and soon determined that these crimes were occurring in multiple jurisdictions; almost all of them occurring at public boat ramps and/or public parks.

 Detectives with the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office soon began a collaborative effort working with investigators throughout Davidson County, Smith County, Dekalb County, Williamson County, Putnam County and Rutherford County. After gathering intelligence from all jurisdictions, detectives quickly developed a suspect and identified the individual as Michael L. Ballinger, a Wilson County resident.

 “This investigation is a perfect example of what can be accomplished when law enforcement agencies come together and share information,” stated Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan. “This investigation was well executed, and I would like to thank all of the agencies involved for their welcomed assistance. Detective Bryan McDonald spent countless number of hours on this case pursuing the suspect who victimized so many people. Due to the overwhelming amount of items discovered at Mr. Ballinger’s residence, we are still looking to link many of those to victims who have not been identified yet. We will be working together to get those stolen items back to the original owners.”

 Based on the totality of the facts and evidence in this case, a search warrant for Ballinger’s residence was executed where detectives located more than 100 purses that appear to be stolen. Although several of the victims in these cases have been identified, many items have not been linked to a specific case. Detectives want to know if you have been a victim of a vehicle burglary, particularly where there has been forced entry made into the vehicle by shattering the window, to please contact the proper law enforcement agency of which the burglary occurred. A detailed inventory that includes pictures of each recovered item will be available to each victim that has a verified theft.