Operation Watchful Eye IV was conducted in Pierce County last week and authorities need the public’s help in tracking down a local sex offender who has absconded.
Warrants have been secured for Chearkee Weldon. Authorities were unable to locate Weldon during last week’s Operation Watchful Eye IV.
“We need the public’s help in locating Mr. Weldon,” said Sheriff Ramsey Bennett. “He has absconded which means he is not where he registered that he would be. He has not checked in with us to report and we have not been able to locate him.”
Pierce County has a total of 49 registered sex offenders living locally. Weldon was the only one who could not be located.
Operation Watchful Eye IV is an initiative involving Georgia’s sheriffs. First started in 2015, the coordinated statewide effort conducts residence verifications and compliance checks of registered sex offenders during a specific time period. Due to the overwhelming success of the original initiative, Georgia’s sheriffs have made this an annual operation and recently conducted Operation Watchful Eye IV.
Statewide, 40 sex offenders were arrested and 147 warrants issued from October 25 – November 1 for violations of state registration laws.
The Office of Sheriff is mandated by law to register sex offenders and to keep the public informed of where registered sex offenders reside, work and attend school. Throughout the year, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office verifies addresses provided by registered sex offenders. While conducting residence verifications, deputies also assure additional registration requirements are being adhered to.
The purpose of this statewide effort is to create awareness that sheriffs’ offices work collectively, network, and actively engage their office by participating in statewide verification checks and other non-compliant matters in order to make our state safer. In numerous counties, deputy sheriffs, U.S. Marshals, U.S. Probation officers and Department of Community Supervision probation/parole officers worked together to verify sex offenders comply with the law.
Preliminary reporting by 77 sheriff’s offices reveals 9,178 registered sex offenders, 240 predators and 123 homeless sex offenders are currently living in Georgia. During the seven-day operation, 7,535 residence verifications were conducted, 96 new sex offenders moved into the reporting counties, 18 new warrants were issued for violations of the sex offender registry law, 13 warrants were issued for new sex offenses, 48 warrants were issued for residency violations of the sex offender registry and 28 warrants were issued for other miscellaneous new charges. More importantly, it was discovered that 190 sex offenders had absconded from their last known address, which will require the sheriff to work with other supporting agencies to track these individuals down.
Remember, for the protection of your family and neighbors, visit your local sheriff’s office website or visit the http://gbi.georgia.gov/georgia-sex-offender-registry for more information on the whereabouts of registered sex offenders in your community.