The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Homepage

June 28, 2013

PI finds dogs; returns them to owner

TARBORO — Whitney Walker and her fiancee, Sterling Jones, knew the odds of finding their three missing pit bulls that were stolen by a bogus dog trainer were against them. The couple rolled the dice by paying a private investigator, which turned out to be the winning ticket.

After about two weeks of extensive work private Investigator Patty Richardson, of Private Eyes, Inc., of Greenville, found the missing dogs and returned them to the couple Wednesday.

"We're so happy," Walker said. "Our family is together again. Thanks to all for the help and support from caring dog lovers everywhere.

Walker, who lives in South Carolina, had spent countless hour in Edgecombe County and at her home searching for her dogs. While they are back at home, she pledged to continue her fight until the suspect (James Whitten) is brought to justice.

The Sheriff's Department has warrants against  Whitten, 46, last known address, 4147 N.C. Highway 97 East, for two counts of obtaining property by false pretense and two counts of larceny of a dog. Whitten is also wanted in two other states for the same violations.

Whitten's sister, Sandra Lee Bryan, 45, who lived at the residence, was charged with obstructing justice by giving false information to the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Department.

Whitten allegedly sold the couple's dogs to a man in Washington. A lead led Richardson to the man's house where one of the dogs was found. The investigation continued and turned up that the man had sold one of the dogs to a Carteret County family and the other one to a Craven County family.

"When we picked up, "Nina" in Carteret County, she was in excellent condition," Richardson said. "The family had taken good care of her.

"When we picked her up, the little girl was balling. She didn't want to let her go. That was so sad. The families who the dogs were sold to are victims, also."

Whitten operated an elaborate scam through a website that solicited business from dog owners who were searching for their canines to be trained. He also used Craiglist to advertise the scam.

The suspect set up shop at a trailer he was renting on Highway 97 East between the Lawrence Community and Leggett. The dog owners paid Whitten up front and provided food, collars and crates for the canines.

After a few days had passed, the dog owners lost all contact with the suspect — and their dogs.

Walker said she paid Whitten $2,500. Frustrated by the loss of her dogs more than the money that was scammed from her, Whitten hired Private Eyes, Inc.

Richardson took over the case and it immediately became personal to her because, about two years ago, a dog was taken from her. She said stealing dogs has become a huge business. Richardson said she will do her part to bring those who steal dogs to justice.

She signed on to help another Whitten victim (Donald Trowell) who recently came forward that he, too, had been scammed.

"I will continue to be very involved in this case," Walker said. "There are still others like me who haven't found their babies yet and they deserve a happy ending. After getting mine back in the condition I did, I"m now more sure than ever that those still missing are in danger and need to be brought home to their families now.

Trowell, from Charleston, S.C. found the scam business on Craiglist. He brought two German Shepherds to Whitten's home for training on May 25. Trowell discovered that he had been scammed when he found recent information that Whitten was wanted. Trowell spent Wednesday in Washington hoping to find his dogs.

"My kids are attached to them," he said. "Now, I have to go back home and tell them someone stole their dogs. I don't care where they are at, I want them brought back to North Carolina. It's not about the money. I want justice for my kids."

 

 

1
Text Only
Homepage
On Golden Pond.jpg

Ethel (Roberta Cashwell), left, brings in kindling while directing pending stepgrandson Billy (Newman Jones) on where to pick strawberries during rehearsals for the Tar River Players upcoming production of “On Golden Pond.” The play begins a two weekend run at 8 p.m., Friday in ECC’s McIntyre Auditorium.

Local News
United Way.jpg

Kirk Scott, executive director of the Christian Fellowship Home of Nash and Edgecombe Counties, gives his keynote speech Wednesday at the United Way Tar River Region's community champions' luncheon at the Gateway Convention Center in Rocky Mount.

Our Community
Sports
Dawson Harris.jpg

Tarboro Vikings pitcher Dawson Harris throws a pitch in the third inning Wednesday against the Rocky Mount Prep Jaguars in the opening round of the 21st Annual Tarboro Easter Classic. Tarboro defeated the Jaguars 29-1.

  • Vikings break two Classic records

    The Tarboro Vikings set two Easter Classic records in four innings en route to 29-1 victory against the Rocky Mount Prep Jaguars  in the opening round of the 21st Annual Easter Classic. Both of those stats are Classic records.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Vikings make late comeback
Opinion
  • The legacy of Joe W. Dickens Jr.'s dash

    Joe W. Dickens Jr.
    Sept. 14, 1953 - March 21, 2014
    The above statement is profound in its own way. It signifies the birth and the death of one of the most influential men in Edgecombe Coun

    March 31, 2014

Lifestyles
  • Bones-final-cover.jpg Local librarian pens first novel

    Roman Leary, director at Edgecombe County Memorial Library, has written his first novel – “Six Days of the Dragon.”

    March 19, 2014 2 Photos

Obituaries Archives
Events
  • EDGECOMBE EVENTS

    Edgecombe Events must be submitted by noon the day before publication. Items eligible include notices of local meetings and activities of non-profit organizations, clubs, schools and civic groups in the community. Information should be brief and typewritten, neatly printed or via  e-mail. For questions call 252-823-3106 or
    e-mail: events@dailysoutherner.com.

    April 24, 2014

Facebook
CNHI Network News
AP Video