Police look for owners of recovered belongings

Columbia County authorities are looking for the owners of property recovered from the home of two people arrested in March and charged in a series of thefts from vehicles.

Joseph Cain Smith, 23, and Heather Nicole Long, 27, were arrested March 23 and charged with six counts of entering an auto to commit theft.

When police searched the couple's Columbia County apartment, they found many items that might have been stolen, including expensive electronics and a large DVD collection, Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said.

"We have returned all the items we can," Capt. Morris said, and nearly 30 items are still unclaimed.

Because one of the returned items has been identified as being stolen from North Augusta, Capt. Morris said he believes some of the items could have come from thefts in Richmond County or North Augusta. The couple has been connected to thefts in those areas and in Columbia County.

Anyone who has had property stolen from vehicles since March 8 in these areas should contact the sheriff's office at (706) 541-2800 to identify and claim property belonging to them, Capt. Morris said.

"Some of the items may belong to the suspects legitimately," he said. "We don't want to just destroy these items. We want to return them to the rightful owner if possible."

Ms. Long was released from the Columbia County Detention Center on March 24 after posting a $45,600 bond, according to jail personnel. Mr. Smith, who also was charged with driving on a suspended or revoked license, was being held Monday without bond, according to jail personnel.

Reach Valerie Rowell at 868-1222, ext. 110, or valerie.rowell@augustachronicle.com.