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Police: Mohican Mills arson probe not looking at 4 accused in theft


Police have dispelled a recent rumor that four former Mohican Mill employees who were accused of stealing bed linens from the textile plant in the spring were additionally involved in starting a fire that injured multiple employees at their workplace this past summer.

Sharon Sailors Belton, Justin Donald Caldwell, Carol Ann Stavola and Karen Hovis Moore each worked third shift in the mill’s circular knitting department, police said.

All four are accused of stealing bedding items from their department sometime between March 30 and April 26, according to an archived Times-News article.

However, they are not considered suspects in the plant’s mysterious August blaze that police labeled “suspicious” early last month, police told the Times-News this week

Emergency Medical Services and nearly 50 firefighters from Lincolnton, North 321, Boger City and South Fork Fire Departments responded to the scene to both treat employees who sustained injuries from smoke inhalation and to extinguish the flames, which were contained to the plant’s “Finishing Room,” fire officials said.

According to authorities, several employees had been exposed to the heavy smoke conditions during their efforts to smother the flames before fire crews arrived at the plant.

Currently, police said they’ve conducted numerous interviews, including all mill employees, some of whom have been interviewed more than once, Lincolnton Police Det. Mark Sain said.

However, authorities still have no persons of interest in the case at this time.

“Nothing sticks out to us,” Sain said.

According to the Clerk of Court’s office, Belton’s, Caldwell’s, Stavola’s and Moore’s cases are still pending at this time.

While the Clerk of Court’s Office shows no set date for a future court appearance, authorities did note that the next date for Asst. District Attorney Kay Killian’s case load is Nov. 28.

Killian is the lead prosecutor in the case on the Mohican Mill theft. However, a clerk could not confirm that theft case would also be heard on that date.



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