Across the area


Police arrest suspect in robbery of store


Police arrested a Langley man Thursday who is accused of robbing a Warrenville convenience store.

Joshua A. Busbee, 27, of the 100 block of Pelzer Street, was picked up by Aiken County sheriff's deputies at about 8 a.m. Thursday as he walked near the intersection of Arbute and Main streets in Graniteville.

Police say he walked into the Kangaroo Express, at 1176 Augusta Road in Warrenville, at about 5:40 a.m. Tuesday, wielding a tire iron.

They say Mr. Busbee threatened an employee, ordered him to open the cash register and took money before running from the store.

He is charged with armed robbery and possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a violent crime.

Mr. Busbee is being held at the Aiken County detention center.

Robber runs after shootout

An armed robber and a convenience store customer were involved in a shootout outside the DLS convenience store Wednesday night, according to Richmond County sheriff's Lt. Jimmy Young.

The man went into the store at about 11:30 p.m., showed a pistol and ordered everyone to the ground, Lt. Young said.

The man stole cash from the register, and as he was running into the woods near the store, a customer fired several shots from his own handgun.

Lt. Young said the robber turned and fired at the man but neither of them were hit.

Man is arrested after urinating on overpass

An Augusta man was arrested after exposing himself to traffic and urinating on the overpass at Walton Way and Sixth Street, according to a Richmond County sheriff's report.

Anthony Alfonzo Gordon, 25, of the 500 block of 13th Street, was charged with public indecency and carrying a concealed weapon after a deputy discovered an unlicensed handgun in Mr. Gordon's coat pocket.

Commission raises rental car surcharge

The Augusta Aviation Commission voted to approve an increase to the rental car surcharge from $1 per contract day to $3.50 per contract day at Thursday's meeting at Bush Field.

The money is allotted to the airport's new terminal project and will be used in the construction of new rental car facilities at the airport, according to Airport Director Buster Boshears.

The commission also voted to increase the amount of money it supplies to the Boshears Skyfest from $15,000 to $17,500 for 2007.

Man gets 5 years for sexual battery of girl

A 64-year-old was sentenced to five years in prison Thursday for the sexual battery of a child.

Curtis R. Etterlee pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to felony sexual battery.

Mr. Etterlee, who had no prior criminal convictions, was accused of fondling and exposing himself to a 15-year-old girl in January 2006.

Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. imposed the prison sentence, adding that Mr. Etterlee probably had scarred the victim for life.

Husband, wife get probation for fraud

A husband and wife received sentences of probation for bankruptcy fraud Thursday.

Charles and Carolyn Rolland, who pleaded guilty to the charge late last year, did not report that they owned 4.46 acres in Columbia County when they filed.

U.S. District Judge Dudley H. Bowen Jr. sentenced each to four years' probation and imposed a $2,000 fine on each.

Man pleads guilty in child porn case

A Hephzibah man swept up in a national child pornography investigation pleaded guilty Thursday.

Harry Mitchell, 36, admitted in U.S. District Court that he had visited a Web site that featured child pornography and had viewed thousands of images.

A federal investigation of the Web site and its paying customers started in New Jersey and reached Virginia and Florida.

Possessing three or more images of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct is a federal offense punishable by a maximum 10-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine.

Man pleads guilty to deprivation of minor

An Augusta man who left two small children in a vehicle while he ran an errand at the mall pleaded guilty to reduced charges Thursday.

James E. Smith Jr., 26, will serve two years on probation, pay a $750 fine and perform 200 hours of community service - with abused children if possible - Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. ruled in Richmond County Superior Court.

Mr. Smith admitted he left his 2-year-old niece and 7-year-old son alone in his vehicle on May 7 at the Augusta Mall. When confronted by a security officer, Mr. Smith falsely claimed to be a firefighter. He pleaded guilty Thursday under the First Offender Act to disorderly conduct and deprivation of a minor.

Man involved in meth ring gets 15 years

A 29-year-old Pelion, S.C., man was sentenced to 15 years in prison in federal court Thursday for his part in a methamphetamine network that operated in Lexington, Orangeburg and Aiken counties.

Todd Steven Webb pleaded guilty in August to one count of conspiring to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine and one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking offense.

Mr. Webb was sentenced in Columbia to 15 years without possibility of parole by U.S. District Judge Margaret B. Seymour - 10 years on the drug charge and five years for the weapons offense.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, beginning in 2002, Mr. Webb and others began manufacturing and distributing methamphetamine from various home-based labs and at least one that operated out of a motel. They also possessed firearms.

Mr. Webb was arrested in "Operation Speedtrap," a federal-state initiative aimed at shutting down meth networks in South Carolina.

- From staff reports