Wanted in Charlottesville

By: Lisa Ferrari
By: Lisa Ferrari

May 17, 2006

There are thousands of fugitives walking our streets wanted for crimes ranging from bad checks to robbery, sodomy, rape and even murder.

It’s hard to fathom that there are thousands of fugitives out there among us but take some comfort in knowing local law enforcement is doing everything they can to bring these suspects to justice; they just don't have the man power to focus on it exclusively.

“It’s amazing the things people have gone through to avoid appearing in court, like running and changing their appearances and changing their names and leaving their family and all of their loved ones behind,” said Albemarle County Sheriff Ed Robb.

Catching criminals on the run is just part of the job for local law enforcement.

Charlottesville police have warrants to arrest 1,657 fugitives. Albemarle County sheriffs are hunting another 75. Albemarle County police have warrants for over 1,100. Making the number of fugitives on our streets close to 3,000.

“The majority of these warrants are for low level offenses,” said Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo.

Others are for more serious crimes.

“Tomas Campos-Hernandez we've been looking for, for years,” said Albemarle County Police Lt. Shawn Schwertfeger.

Police say Hernandez fired a single gunshot into the side of his roommates head. He may be hiding out in Mexico.

For years, Charlottesville police have been hunting Tyronne Morrison. He's is wanted for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman on Swanson Drive in 2003. There's Kizzie Walker, she's being hunted police say for slugging her boyfriend with a golf club.

“When we have warrants for individuals wanted for violent crimes a tremendous amount of time and energy and resources go into trying to identify and locate those persons,” said Charlottesville police Chief Tim Longo.

Catching these guys takes some serious detective work.

“They don't stay in one spot long,” said Albemarle County Sheriff’s Deputy Bobby Shiflett.

Checking personal records like credit cards and DMV files, police hunt down fugitives. When they get a location, they move in quickly.

Charlottesville police captured Shawn Christopher Cave last week. Wanted for assault and battery, he hid from the law in his mother's closet. Police got Cave and arrested his mother for obstructing justice.

“You break the law, you have to pay,” said Albemarle County Sheriff’s Master Deputy Roger Craig.

Without the manpower to focus solely on fugitive apprehension, police are forced to get creative. Charlottesville sends out letters asking non-serious offenders to turn themselves in. Albemarle County is placing photos and the names of hundreds of fugitives in this Sunday's newspaper, and the sheriff's office has created a part time fugitive apprehension task force.

The city cut down its number of warrants by 15% by sending out those letters. The county says they anticipate this weekend's operation to bring in hundreds of fugitives and the sheriffs department has cut their list of fugitives in half in the last two years.

For a list of outstanding warrants from police and the sheriff's office, check out albemarle.org.

If you have information that could help police call 911 or Crime Stoppers Immediately at 434-977-4000.

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