Across the area


Police seek suspect in robbery of bakery


Police are seeking a man in connection with the robbery of an Augusta business earlier this week.

Stedman Lewis Felton, 36, is wanted in connection with a robbery that took place Tuesday morning at the Derst Bakery Outlet on Milledgeville Road.

An employee said a man fitting Mr. Felton's description, entered the bakery at about 10 a.m., presented her with a handwritten note while demanding money. The suspect wore a skull cap, a dark jacket and was holding an unknown object inside a sock, police said.

After receiving the money, the man ran from the business and fled by bicycle, police said.

Although no surveillance videotape was available and the suspect wore gloves, crime scene technicians retrieved fingerprints from the note.

Anyone with information leading to an arrest, should call the Richmond County Sheriff's Office at 821-1080.

Hyde Park group seeks EPA's help

The group that opposes the proposed relocation of Hyde Park residents launched a letter-writing campaign Thursday asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator for clearer guidance on whether contamination in the area is a viable health threat.

The campaign, organized by CSRA Help and Hyde Park Pride, asks supporters to contact EPA Region IV Brownfields Program Coordinator Michael Brown.

"We are asking the EPA to please inform the residents of Hyde Park of the following: Is Hyde Park a health hazard? Is there a medical impact on the residents that currently live there?"

Robert Mullins, an environmental attorney advising residents opposed to relocation, said the letters are being circulated in hopes of getting clearer opinions about the area from qualified environmental experts.

"Certainly, if they concur that relocation is not necessary, it makes sense to stop spending money looking at relocation," Mr. Mullins said.

Rape suspect's DNA matches samples

Sample DNA obtained from a man identified as a suspect in the January rape of an elderly west Augusta woman matches that of samples collected from the victim, according to the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

On Thursday, police said a sample obtained from Michael Christopher Blocker, 34, had been sent to the State Crime Lab and matches that of samples taken from the 74-year-old woman who was sexually assaulted at her Summerville home on Jan. 9.

On Jan. 15, Mr. Blocker was charged for the rape which occurred in the 2500 block of Walton Way. Police arrested him at his home in the 2600 block of Hazel Street - about two blocks from the crime scene.

Mr. Blocker remains in the Richmond County jail and faces felony rape, felony burglary and felony theft by receiving stolen property charges.

Science teachers can apply for $500 award

Teachers who include environmental science in their instructional programs can compete for a $500 award in a competition to name the annual Environmental Science Educator of the Year.

The program, sponsored by the CSRA Environmental Science Education Cooperative, was created to recognize and reward teachers who encourage students to become critical thinkers on environmental issues.

All teachers K-12 in public, private and home school are eligible to apply. The nomination deadline is March 15. Details and entry forms are available at or by calling Chuck Niemeyer, (706) 792-7761.

Man charged with theft of U-Haul, $500

An Augusta man is in jail on theft charges for allegedly taking a U-Haul van and attempting to use it to take riding lawn mowers from Sears at the Augusta Mall early Thursday morning, according to Investigator Shawn Newsome.

Lindsey Ruffin Jr., 49, of the 2500 block of Banbury Street, is charged with theft by receiving stolen property and criminal attempt of theft by taking over $500, Investigator Newsome said.

Augusta Mall security guards saw Mr. Ruffin cut the chain around the riding lawn mowers and alerted the Richmond County sheriff's Office.

He drove off in the U-Haul van to the 2000 block of Barton Chapel Road where he jumped out of the vehicle and ran away. After a brief foot chase, police were able to arrest Mr. Ruffin, Investigator Newsome said.

Man robbed at local motel at gunpoint

A Hephzibah man was robbed at gunpoint at the Augusta Super Inn at 1602 Gordon Highway on Wednesday morning, according to a Richmond County sheriff's report.

The 23-year-old man said he entered a motel room to find his sister when the suspect pointed a pistol at his face and stole his sweatshirt and cellular phone, the report said. The victim and his sister were leaving the scene when he heard the robber fire several shots. No one was hit but police found three shell casings near the motel room, the report said.

Work to close part of Windsor Spring Road

A section of Windsor Spring Road will close today so that crews can repair a storm water line, an Augusta Traffic Engineering news release said.

The road will close today at 8 a.m. and reopen Saturday at 5 p.m., the release said. It will affect the area between Mims Road and Rhodes Avenue.

Drivers can use Mims Road, Brothersville Road, Hephzibah McBean Road and Rhodes Avenue as detours.

Church offers concert in support of causes

A Concert with a Cause will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday at St. John United Methodist Church, 736 Greene St. in Augusta. The concert will feature organist Peter Richard Conte and benefits Sacred Heart Cultural Center.

The Manhattan Piano Trio with John Scott will perform at 3 p.m. on March 25. The concerts are free, but an offering will be taken.

For more information, call (706) 724-9641.

- From staff reports