Tuesday, October 12, 1999

General News Feature: Sheriff books drummer Tommy Lee

Greensboro News & Record-
October 12, 1999
Author/Byline: JANET A. BRINDLE
Staff Writer
Edition: ALL
Page: B1

        Heavy-metal drummer Tommy Lee flew into the Piedmont Triad International Airport Monday morning, stopped by to chat with the Guilford County sheriff, posted a $5,000 secured bond on a felony charge and rounded out his day with lunch at Lucky 32.

        It was a full day for the former main man of Motley Crue, one of the best-selling rock acts of the 1980s.

        Lee, 37, turned himself in to Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes at 11:30 a.m. on charges stemming from a Motley Crue performance more than two years ago at the Greensboro Coliseum. Lee's appearance to answer the charges against him followed the Sept. 3 arrest of the band's bassist, Nikki Sixx, in Raleigh on related charges stemming from the same Greensboro concert. Guilford deputies traveled to Raleigh then to take Sixx into custody but could not arrest Lee because he did not perform at that concert.

        The Guilford sheriff's department serves 5,000 warrants each month, Barnes said, and Lee and Sixx were just two more suspects to be found. Their fame, he said, didn't make the department's pursuit of them any stronger, or less diligent, than its pursuit of other suspects.

        ``He's just like anyone else in the eyes of the law,'' Barnes said of Lee.

        The charges were filed after a security guard at the Greensboro show claimed that band members shouted racial slurs at him and incited the crowd to throw beer at him. Warrants were issued for Lee's arrest two years ago, and he was served Monday with charges of felony riot with ethnic animosity and simple assault, a misdemeanor. He was released later Monday after posting the $5,000 bond.

        After arresting Sixx on Sept. 3, Barnes said, he sent home a clear message to Lee with Sixx: Lee could turn himself in, or he would find his name in the national crime information system database, a most-wanted list. If Lee's name had been added to that list, he could have been picked up by any law-enforcement agency at any time.

        Lee answered by asking his lawyer to set up a meeting with Barnes.

        ``I appreciate that he showed up,'' Barnes said of Lee. ``It saved us a lot of work.''

        Barnes said Lee was mild-mannered and polite. The musician listed his occupation on jail forms as a member of the band Motley Crue, although he has not been performing with the band at all its concerts.

        Barnes said he set up a private place to meet with Lee, and then Lee was processed at the jail, where he posted bond.

        ``He was last seen around 1:30 (p.m.) enjoying lunch at Lucky 32s,'' Barnes said.

        The manager of the restaurant would not say what Lee ate or whether he left a larger-than-normal tip.

        Lee's court date is scheduled for Oct. 20. Guilford County District Attorney Jim Kimel said Monday that he expects Lee to be present because he does not know of any provision in the law that allows a suspect to waive a hearing for a felony charge.

        Barnes said he expects the rockers will be given community service if they are convicted. He said he hopes Lee is forced to make a public-service announcement teaching good values to kids.

        The security guard who claims the band incited attacks against him filed a civil suit against Lee and Sixx. The case is scheduled to be heard by a judge in November.

Copyright 1999  Greensboro News & Record

Wednesday, September 29, 1999

General News Feature: N.C. car thief comes home after 40 years

Greensboro News & Record-

September 29, 1999
Author/Byline: JANET A. BRINDLE 

Staff Writer
Edition: ALLSection: TRIAD/STATE

        A crafty car thief - on the run for 40 years - was finally caught after someone tipped off Florida deputies.

        William Meggs, 64, was arrested Thursday by Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputies in Tampa, Fla. Meggs was living under the alias of Fred Culley, according to jailers there.

        Meggs was convicted on Feb. 14, 1959, for stealing a car in Guilford County, according to records from the North Carolina Department of Correction. No home address is listed for Meggs on his arrest record, which is more than 40 years old.

        N.C. Correction spokeswoman Christy Hardee said Meggs was sentenced to three years at the Stanly County Correctional Center but was eligible for parole in June 1959. There are few remaining court records on Meggs, but apparently, his parole was denied. He escaped from the prison on Oct. 20 of that year, according to state records.

        Hardee did not know if Meggs escaped while he was part of a work crew or if he outwitted the prison's security measures.

        The Stanly prison was closed this year, and Meggs' records could not be immediately located by correction officials at the Albemarle Correctional Institute, where those records were forwarded, Hardee said.

        Another Department of Correction spokeswoman, Patty McQuillan, described Meggs' heist as unique. He went to a car dealership and asked to test drive a car.

        While on his test drive, Meggs went to another car dealership, where he traded the car in for another car.

        Records don't indicate which dealerships were involved.

        Meggs was a fugitive for his crime until Thursday.

        Deputies in Hillsborough County, Fla., were not immediately available to comment on the nature of the arrest Tuesday night, but jailers said Meggs was in custody in Tampa.

        McQuillan said a parole officer in Tampa told her that police got a tip about Meggs. He is likely to be paroled in Florida.

        Apparently, Tampa law officials have known Meggs and been friendly with him for many years, but they had no idea he was a fugitive because he used an alias, McQuillan said.

        Meggs is listed in North Carolina's inmate escape directory as a white man with brown hair and brown eyes, weighing 180 pounds and standing 6 feet 1 inch tall.

        But Meggs isn't the state's longest missing prisoner, according to records from the Department of Correction. One man escaped in 1947 and still has not been found.

Copyright 1999  Greensboro News &Record