Viral FB post leads to arrest

By Jeff Linville -
Sawyers -

DOBSON — A video posted on Facebook over the weekend about a crime went viral. Now the Surry County Sheriff’s Office has a suspect in custody in the matter.

Octavia Revels, who lives on Toast Road, Mount Airy, posted on Facebook that she woke up Sunday morning to the worst birthday present: someone had stolen her SUV.

The sheriff’s office stated that Revels reported her 2001 Jeep Cherokee stolen just before 11 a.m.

After putting a message on Facebook about the theft, Revels said she got a tip from a friend who had seen her SUV.

“Just before 2 p.m. on the same day, Ms. Revels located her vehicle on Cedar Ridge Road, Mount Airy, and called Surry County Communications,” stated the sheriff’s office. “Deputies responded and confirmed it was the stolen vehicle. The vehicle was released to Ms. Revels.”

In her Facebook post, Revels wondered why the man who was there pulling his things out of her Jeep wasn’t arrested for stealing her Jeep or for having a fictitious plate on the vehicle.

She stated, “There’s a lot I didn’t get on video but I was threatened by the suspect, he got in my face as if he wanted to hit me. Called me and my family niggers.”

As of Wednesday evening that post had received 551 comments, 511 shares and an untold numbers of views.

As is often the case in law enforcement, there was a lot more going on with this story, noted Chief Deputy Lauren Osborne.

The location on Cedar Ridge Road was the residence of Kathy Wood.

“Deputies conducted interviews where the vehicle was located and learned Kathy Wood … had just traded a 1999 Dodge Caravan and $300 for the Jeep not knowing it was stolen,” explained Osborne. “The case was assigned to the Detective Division for further investigation.”

Today, detectives recovered Wood’s Dodge Caravan and established probable cause to issue charges against James Dean Sawyers, 36, of 118 E. Wilson St, Mount Airy, explained the chief deputy.

Detectives have charged Sawyers with one count felony larceny of a motor vehicle for stealing the Jeep that belonged to Revels and one count felony obtain property by false pretense for defrauding Wood with a stolen vehicle in a trade.

In this case, both women are victims of Sawyers, who has a long history with the sheriff’s office, he said.

Rap sheet

Sawyers was apprehended in Pilot Mountain on April 3 after a pursuit by DMV enforcement officers. He was charged with six misdemeanor counts of writing worthless checks from a Surry County warrant dated July 17, one misdemeanor count of resisting a public officer, and one felony count of fleeing/eluding arrest.

Two days later, additional traffic-related charges were filed, with a $500 secured bond. Among the charges were passing a worthless check, fleeing to elude arrest, resisting an officer, failing to apply for a new title, having no registration card, having a fictitious tag, driving with no insurance, and giving false information to an officer. These driving-related charges came up on April 17, but Sawyers allegedly didn’t appear in court.

Sawyers was arrested in April 2017 on outstanding warrants for charges of resisting, obstructing or delaying a public officer (filed on March 29) and an order for arrest for failing to appear in court (April 4). During an investigation leading to his arrest, Sawyers allegedly tried to pull away from Mount Airy Officer K.S. Crane, resulting in an additional resisting charge.

Sawyers was arrested March 2016 and charged with felony fleeing with a motor vehicle to elude arrest, failure to stop at a steady red light and use of a fictitious title or tag.

According to the Surry County court docket, Sawyers has a Sept. 4 court appearance to face several charges related to the April apprehension in Pilot Mountain.


By Jeff Linville

Reach Jeff at 415-4692.

Reach Jeff at 415-4692.