By Clint Parker
Woodfin – Two high profile arrests appeared regionally in the news. What wasn’t said was the role that the Woodfin Police Department played in those arrests.
The first case involved the arrest of an arson suspect in the February 5th French Broad School fire, and the second case was connected to a missing Craggy Correctional inmate who was out on work release. Here’s the story of the Woodfin Police’s involvement in both those cases.
According to Woodfin Police Lieutenant Chris Ammons, “We were dispatched to assist Buncombe County Sheriff’s department in the search for Justin Edward Caristo.” Caristo was the suspect in the arson of the 95-year-old French Broad School building.
“According to the initial call Mr. Caristo had been dropped off in Asheville at [a] supermarket. He would later be apprehended by the Buncombe County Sherriff’s Department outside the jurisdiction of Woodfin. Our investigation into the incident led to charges that occurred while he was still in Woodfin,” said Ammons.
Woodfin’s investigation led to charges for:
• Second Degree Kidnapping
• Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon
• Felony Breaking and/or entering
• Felony Larceny after break/enter
The next arrest involved a missing work release suspect from the Craggy Correctional facility. “We were requested to assist N.C. Department of Public Safety around 2:45 on February 7,” Ammons told the Tribune.
“Subject in question Steven Coleman left his work release site without authorization.” An extensive search of the area, by Woodfin Police, Buncombe County Sherriff’s Department, and NC DPS (including K-9) were unsuccessful according to Ammons.
“Mr. Coleman remained at large until approximately 3:23 am on February 8, when he turned himself in to the Woodfin Police Department. Officers then returned custody to N.C. DPS,” Ammons said.