Lenoir man to serve six to nine years for obtaining property by false pretense and admission of habitual felon status

Johnny Hawkins

NEWTON, NC (January 18, 2024) ⇒ Johnny Oscar Hawkins Jr., 44, of Lenoir, will serve a prison sentence of six to nine years following his plea to three counts of obtaining property by false pretense and admission of habitual felon status.

The Honorable Daniel A. Kuehnert, Superior Court Judge from Burke County, imposed terms of the plea arrangement during Catawba County Superior Court on Wednesday, January 17, 2024.

The defendant will serve his incarceration period in the custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections.

Hawkins’ prison sentence length was enhanced because of prior felony convictions in Caldwell County for felony breaking/entering (September 2011), felony possession of stolen goods (February 2009) and obtaining property by false pretense (March 2003).

“Retail theft is a real problem across North Carolina, and its effects can be felt by customers and communities as a whole,” District Attorney Scott Reilly said. “This sentence of up to nine years underscores our commitment to taking retail theft seriously. Hopefully, this sentence will serve as a strong deterrent, sending a clear message that such criminal behavior will not be tolerated, and we will continue working to protect our local businesses and residents from the impact of retail theft.”

On three occasions between July 14, 2021, and July 21, 2021, Hawkins went into a Hickory business, took items off the sales floor without paying for them and took them to the return counter in exchange for gift cards.

The defendant was seen making the returns/exchanges to gain the gift cards on the store’s video surveillance system.

Cadyn Lafone investigated the cases for Hickory Police Department. Prosecution was handled by Assistant District Attorney Howard Wellons with aid from Legal Assistant Meredith Scott.