by Clellie Allen
A Wake Forest man reportedly facing his rent due date empty handed, concocted an elaborate story to blame his lack of funds on an armed robbery.
Shortly before 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 14, Christopher Joseph Walker, 27, called Wake Forest police and claimed he’d been attacked and robbed while walking on South White Street near Holding Avenue.
“I need a police officer please on White Street and Holding Boulevard (sic) ... in front of the post office. Two black guys just robbed me and they put a knife to my throat,” Walker told a police dispatcher according to public record 911 audio.
“I just cashed my pay check and gave them all $400. They slashed me, ... and they stabbed me in my hand,” he said.
Walker went on to describe his purported assailants as being in their late teens or early 20s and even included what they were supposedly wearing, saying one was in blue jeans and a black shirt and the other in gray sweat pants and a gray top.
He then told police the alleged attackers ran off toward Dollar General.
Wake Forest police searched for the suspects and on Friday morning issued a statement saying they were investigating an armed robbery along the 500 block of South White Street and asked the public for any help with information.
But, according to Wake Forest Public Affairs Director Bill Crabtree, Walker’s story started to fall apart.
“During the course of the investigation, (officers) found several inconsistencies in his account of what happened,” Crabtree said. “The investigation revealed that he filed the report because his rent was coming due, and he had spent his money elsewhere.”
By Friday evening, Walker, who lives in the Franklin Inn at 608 S. Main St., found himself in police custody, facing charges of filing a false police report and resisting public officers. He was taken to the Wake County Detention Center and held on $2,000 secured bond.
Chase ends in crash
Franklin and Wake County Sheriff’s deputies, along with N.C. State Highway Patrol and Raleigh and Wake Forest police helped stop a man evidently bent on leading a chase down U.S. 401 to try and avoid arrest.
Franklin County Sheriff’s Chief of Staff Terry Wright said it all started when a concerned motorist reported a reckless driver to 911 “cutting drivers off and speeding.”
“Deputy Sgt. Wester observed the vehicle and activated blue lights and sirens, however the driver failed to stop,” Wright said.
William Leo Stephany Jr., 38, of 117 Buffalo Acres Lane, Garner, allegedly fled from Franklin County Sheriff’s deputies when they attempted a traffic stop shortly before 3:30 p.m. near N.C. 96 and U.S. 1.
He then led law enforcement on a chase down U.S. 401, to a location near Spring Forest Road in Raleigh, where he was stopped by officers using their vehicles to cut him off.
Several law enforcement vehicles were damaged in the process, including three Wake Forest police cruisers, said Crabtree. In spite of the dramatic end to the chase, which involved a trooper diving through the passenger-side window of Stephany’s Dodge pickup, no deputies or any other law enforcement officers were injured in the chase, Wright said.
Stephany was initially transported to an area hospital due to injuries. Later, he was booked into the Franklin County jail, and charged with felony fleeing to elude arrest.
He was also charged in Wake County with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a government official and fleeing to elude arrest, all felonies, and misdemeanor causing injury to personal property.
Stephany had a few more charges assessed from warrants out of Onslow County as well — driving while impaired, reckless driving to endanger and speeding.
He is being held in the Franklin County jail on a $212,500 bond.