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Probe into mailbox bomb turns federal

Whoever blew up a mailbox in the University City area will have more than Charlotte-Mecklenburg police to deal with.

Federal officials are joining the investigation into the blast, which happened about 10:15 p.m. Sunday at a home in the 2200 block of Oak Leigh Drive, off University City Boulevard north of Interstate 485.

Police are looking for a gold Mitsubishi sedan.

The blast happened not far from the scene of a series of arson cases recently. But police say that Sunday night's incident was not related to those fires.

The Observer's news partner, WCNC-TV, reported that the resident was home when the mailbox exploded Sunday evening. The explosion could be heard a mile away, residents told WCNC. The car spotted by witnesses might have had S.C. license tags, perhaps containing the letter “H,” police said.

Destruction of a mailbox is a federal crime, and that is why federal investigators are involved. Police have not released information on what type of device was used.

Steve Lyttle

Meck briefs

Charlotte

A cab driver told police Monday that he didn't realize he had hit a woman as she walked on the John Belk Freeway until after he heard it on the news.

Mary Cox Richardson, 50, was found about 4:45 a.m. on the westbound lanes of the freeway, near Bank of America Stadium. Witnesses told police a green late 1990s-model Ford Windstar hit Richardson, who was crossing the highway for an unknown reason. Officers later found the taxi, which had a huge gash in the driver's side of the windshield.

“He didn't know he hit (someone). … He thought he hit some poles,” Nazakat Khan, the owner of Diamond Cab, told WCNC, the Observer's news partner. Khan told the TV station that the driver, who has not been named, called police twice.

No charges have been filed. Victoria Cherrie, WCNC

Mecklenburg

Library leaders are looking to the public for ideas on how the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County can serve residents.

They're holding several public focus groups to gather suggestions that will guide planning for three to five years:

Wednesday, 7-8:30 p.m., North County Regional Library.

Saturday, 10-11:30 a.m., Freedom Regional Library.

July 22, 7-8:30 p.m., University City Regional Library.

July 23, 7-8:30 p.m., Independence Regional Library.

July 24, 7-8:30 p.m., South County Regional Library.

July 29, 7-8:30 p.m., ImaginOn.

July 31, 7-8:30 p.m., Morrison Regional Library. Staff Reports

Regional briefs

Cabarrus County Concord

The Cabarrus County school board voted Monday night to fill Liz Poole's vacant seat with a familiar name: Don Hoyle.

Hoyle is a retired principal and longtime board member who rotated off the board in 2004. He will take Poole's seat at the board's July 24 meeting and serve until a new member is elected in November.

Board chairman Holly Blackwelder said Hoyle's experience will be helpful as the board works on proposed student reassignment plans that will affect a number of high schools.

“He is going to be real familiar with the things we're doing now,” Blackwelder said.

Poole resigned in June so she could take a teaching job at Concord High School. She had two years left in her term.

Her resignation left five of seven seats open in the November election. Gail Smith-Arrants

SOUTH CAROLINA Columbia

An S.C. judge on Monday cleared with the way for an auction of James Brown's possessions to be held later this week, giving fans a chance to bid on more than 300 items that belonged to the late soul singer.

Brown's red jumpsuit and sunglasses are among the items scheduled to go up for bid at Christie's auction house in New York on S.C. Appeals Court Judge Jasper Cureton on Monday lifted a temporary stay that was issued after the singer's former business managers raised objections to the sale.

Cureton wrote that funds from the auction can be tracked through accounting and any disputes over whether the auction proceeds belong to Brown's estate or trust can be “sorted out at a later date.”

Thursday's auction is expected to bring about $1 million and has received “very positive response” during a pre-sale exhibition, Christie's spokeswoman Sara Fox said. Associated Press

Police digest

Mecklenburg County Charlotte

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police on Monday filed a petition against a juvenile who is accused of burning personal property.

The boy, who is not being named because he's under 16, is accused of setting fire to University Meadows Elementary School on Friday. Firefighters discovered flames burning the deck of one of the school's mobile classrooms on Wheatside Drive. Damage was minimal but as firefighters investigated the blaze, another fire was discovered across the street.

The fires happened after someone set more than a dozen fires around a University City apartment complex earlier this summer.

CMPD Maj. Katrina Graue said the juvenile confessed to setting the school fire. Investigators are trying to determine if he had any involvement in the others, she said.

He was being held at the Gatling Juvenile Detention Center. Victoria Cherrie

Alta RaVon Bost Sr. was arrested on Monday and charged with common law robbery.

Police pulled him over in a red pickup not long after a bank teller reported being held up at First Citizens Bank at 4325 Randolph Road.

The robbery happened about 1:30 p.m. Bank employees told police that a man, who acted as though he had a gun, demanded cash and drove off in a truck.

Police pulled over Bost, 30, on Fairview Road.

What linked him to the robbery?

Police say the truck was full of thousands in cash. Victoria Cherrie

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