Across the area


Deputies ask for help in car break-ins case


Richmond County sheriff's investigators are asking for help in capturing another suspect in a series of car break-ins.

Shawn Joseph Ferreri, 20, is wanted on four counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, one count of criminal street gang activity and theft by receiving stolen property.

Earlier this month, Madison Davenport and two unnamed juveniles were arrested in connection with at least nine car break-ins in south Augusta and Hephzibah. More than $8,000 in items from firearms to GPS devices was stolen.

Anyone with information can call Investigator Wesley Stallings at (706) 821-1020.

Blood Center needs type O

Shepeard Blood Center says it is in critical need of type O blood.

"We try to keep a minimum of a 30-day supply of blood," Linda Petersen, the center's Georgia communications coordinator, said Wednesday. For O-positive blood, she said, that is a minimum of 230 units. On Wednesday the center had 37, she said.

"The flip side is O-negative, and O-negative is a universal donor," she said.

The center needs at least 60 units of O-negative and had 72 on Wednesday.

"Not great," she said. "We're pushing our totals against the line."

Blood supplies usually drop during the holidays, she said, but this year the need is even more critical because use is up 17 percent over last year.

Shepeard's locations are at 1533 Wrightsboro Road, 112 Davis Road in Martinez, 460 N. Belair Road in Evans and 353 Fabian Drive in Aiken.

For more information, call Ms. Petersen at (706) 737-4551 or Linda Taylor at (803) 617-0007.

Hot weather records continue to crumble

Augusta's unseasonably warm temperatures set a record for a fourth straight day Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service in Columbia.

Wednesday's high of 82 degrees topped the previous record of 80 set in 1931, meteorologist Chris Liscinsky said. Today's temperatures are expected to flirt with another record. The forecast calls for a high temperature around 80 degrees, which would tie the record.

A cold front is expected to come through tonight and into Friday morning to bring high temperatures back down into the 70s, Mr. Liscinsky said.

Whitehead gets seat on corrections board

Former state Sen. Jim Whitehead, R-Evans, has been named to the Georgia Board of Corrections. Gov. Sonny Perdue announced the appointment Wednesday.

Mr. Whitehead resigned from the Georgia Senate earlier this year to launch an unsuccessful bid to fill the seat of the late Congressman Charlie Norwood.

Mr. Whitehead, a tire dealer, began his political career as a Columbia County commissioner.

The 18-member corrections board oversees the state's 37 prisons and 120 probation offices.

Aiken facility to be named after veteran

The new veterans facility on Millbrook Avenue in Aiken will be named to honor Aiken Marine Cpl. Matthew Dillon, who was killed in action a year ago while serving in Iraq.

U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett, R-S.C., introduced legislation Tuesday to name the outpatient clinic, which will serve veterans in Aiken, Edgefield and Barnwell counties. It is expected to open in February.

Burglary suspects' ties to Augusta examined

Two men charged in Tennessee with a string of burglaries could be facing charges in Augusta as well, according to Investigator Robin Ashmore of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Brothers Brian and Jeffrey Burton were arrested last month in Cookeville, Tenn., by the Putnam County Sheriff's Office and charged with breaking into businesses after hours and taking money from cash registers, Investigator Ashmore said. During police interviews, Brian Burton said they were in Augusta during the same time that about a dozen similar burglaries took place, so investigators in Tennessee called Richmond County authorities.

During one of the local burglaries, at the Meineke Car Care Center on Gordon Highway, a surveillance camera recorded a man wearing gray shorts, a blue shirt, work boots and a white ball cap breaking into a cash register using a crowbar, the investigator said.

Clothing matching the man in the video was found in the stolen car in which the brothers were caught.

Investigator Ashmore said he is obtaining arrest warrants.

4 students nominated to military academies

Congressman Paul Broun has announced the names of the students he has recommended for appointment to military academies.

The list includes four local students: Frederick Bisch, of Greenbrier High School; Justin Boquist, of Evans High School; Stephen Ealick, of John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School; and Paul Maile, of Marion Military Academy and Lakeside High School.

Kidnapper convicted; jurors split on charges

Jurors convicted a man of kidnapping, but couldn't agree Wednesday on other charges.

The Richmond County Superior Court jurors split on whether or not Lyjuan M. Smith, 29, was also guilty of armed robbery and aggravated assault charges, said Assistant District Attorney John Markwalter. He said he will seek a retrial on those charges.

Mr. Smith is accused of holding up John Rife and his wife at Mr. Rife's Bransford Road business, John's Service Station, on July 22.

Post Office employee is under investigation

An employee at the U.S. Post Office in New Ellenton is being investigated on theft-related charges by the Office of the Inspector General, said Tina Freeburg, a spokeswoman for the post office.

Attempts to reach the inspector general's office were unsuccessful.

New Ellenton police are not involved in the investigation, an employee said.

-- From staff reports