Joe Beck

23 arrested on 105 drug charges

Law enforcement officials in Shenandoah County arrested 23 people and filed 105 drug-related charges against them Friday, the culmination of an investigation that lasted slightly more than a year. Lt. Chris Baker, of the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office, said a majority of those arrested ...

Year in Review: Use of force, heroin top police issues in 2016

The national debate over when and how police should use force in fighting crime reached area departments in 2016, although they were largely spared the protest and political turmoil that have rocked larger communities elsewhere. Attorney General Mark Herring launched a series of training ...

Year in Review: Heroin, murder cases weighed on courts in 2016

A few cases stand out every year among the thousands crowding onto state and federal court dockets in the northern Shenandoah Valley. Some are notable for their drama, others for important legal and social issues they raise and still others are memorable for the level of interest they generate ...

Drug agents carry opioid antidote for themselves

Members of the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force have begun carrying a drug to protect themselves if they accidentally ingest a potent opioid. The drug naloxone, more commonly known by its brand name Narcan, has been credited with saving the lives of countless heroin overdose ...

Man charged in cemetery vandalism

A Rockingham County man has been charged with defacing a cemetery headstone and several related offenses. Shenandoah County Sheriff’s deputies arrested and charged Melvin Ray Bottenfield, 34, of Hinton, at his home on Dec. 7. Capt. Wesley Dellinger of the Sheriff’s Office said his ...

Woman facing animal mistreatment charges

The discovery of a townhouse in Woodstock filled with cats and high levels of ammonia led Friday to one of the residents being charged with 10 counts related to mistreatment of animals. The defendant, Becky Lynn Ritenour, 41, of 319 Lora Drive, is facing five counts of animal cruelty and ...

Cold weather moving into area

Cold weather is moving into the area and likely to linger for a few days. The National Weather Service is forecasting lows in the mid-20s today and Saturday night and highs in the mid-30s on both days. Skies are expected to be clear today and partly cloudy tonight followed by another ...

Man sentenced in dog’s death

A Strasburg man who pleaded no contest to torturing an animal and causing its death was sentenced Wednesday in Shenandoah County Circuit Court to two months in jail. Pharris Frink Horne, 46, was also sentenced to three years supervised probation under terms of a plea agreement approved by ...

Corps of Engineers changes command

WINCHESTER – Hundreds of well-wishers gathered Thursday at the headquarters of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Middle East District to mark a change of command. Col. Patrick V. Kinsman formally took over the district from retiring Col. Vincent B. Quarles, who had been in charge since ...

Woman sentenced on drug charges

WOODSTOCK – A woman who was present at the time another individual overdosed on heroin was sentenced Wednesday in Shenandoah County Circuit Court to nine months in jail on narcotics-related offenses. The defendant, Amber Lynn Dellinger, formerly of Basye, pleaded guilty to two counts of ...

Cigarette tax defendant sentenced

WOODSTOCK – A New York City man pleaded guilty Wednesday in Shenandoah County Circuit Court to two counts of selling thousands of cartons of untaxed cigarettes, the latest in a string of defendants snared by an elaborate undercover operation conducted by the Sheriff Office over several ...

Man accused of attacking girlfriend

FRONT ROYAL – A man accused of knocking his girlfriend unconscious was determined to be eligible for a court-appointed attorney Tuesday. Howard Stephen Jefferson Jr., 26, of 616 W. 11th St., Front Royal, is charged with malicious wounding in connection with an incident Friday at his ...

Murder defendant wants trial moved

FRONT ROYAL -- Attorneys for accused murderer Clay Marshall Curtis are asking that his trial scheduled for April be moved elsewhere, citing adverse pre-trial publicity. Curtis, 63, is charged with first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Front Royal cab driver Simon Funk Jr. in December ...

Fire destroys warehouse, apartment

STRASBURG – Fire destroyed a warehouse and a residence in the same building early Sunday morning. Firefighters were called to Stone House Floors at 28910 Old Valley Pike at 12:53 a.m. Sunday. Fire Marshal David Ferguson described the warehouse as “fully involved” by the time ...

Police investigate New Market break-ins

New Market police are investigating three burglaries, all of them around the same time Friday evening. Police were called to the 9400 block of Shenandoah Drive at 9:52 p.m. after someone reported a residential burglary. During the investigation, officers learned two other residences in ...

Two Central teens face charges

Two students at Central High School in Woodstock were arrested Friday and charged with offenses related to what Shenandoah County Sheriff Timothy C. Carter described as “credible information regarding threats against students and staff at Central High School.” The defendants are a ...

Man charged in abduction case

FRONT ROYAL – Authorities have arrested and charged a man with abduction as a result of an investigation that began when a woman reported that he had punched her in the face and would not let her leave his residence. The defendant, Mason Challis, 26, of 89 Chestnut Hill Drive, has been ...

Police say groggy suspect used heroin

STRASBURG – Town police arrested a Maryland man they described as under the influence of heroin while they investigated a report of a vehicle theft and credit card theft early Friday morning. The defendant, Justin Duran Laughlin, 25, was one of two people arrested during the investigation. ...

Fire destroys two houses

STEPHENS CITY – A fire Wednesday night destroyed one house and another that was under construction. Frederick County fire and rescue officials said the fire started at 128 Trumpet Vine Drive, an unoccupied house that was under construction but only a few weeks away from ...

Chase defendant deemed mentally unfit

WOODSTOCK – The ability of William Walter Grim Jr. to stand trial in the foreseeable future on charges linked to a harrowing police chase was thrown into doubt at a hearing Wednesday in Shenandoah County Circuit Court to review his mental competency. Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Louis ...