Across the area

Grave vases stolen for value as scrap metal


Thieves recently stole 27 bronze flower vases from graves in Hillcrest Memorial Park on Deans Bridge Road.

The thefts, which were reported Monday, are thought to have occurred Thursday and Friday, according to a Richmond County sheriff's report. The total value of the vases is believed to be more than $3,000, and investigators think they were stolen for their value as scrap metal, according to Lt. Tony Walden.

Police seek suspect in west Augusta shooting

Police are seeking a man in a shooting in west Augusta early Monday.

At 2:10 a.m., Richmond County sheriff's deputies were called to the 1100 block of Marks Church Road.

Antonio Tyrone Pringle, 38, of the 1100 block of Marks Church Road, told police he gave a man a ride from the Deans Bridge Road Wal-Mart and that while en route to his house the man demanded his wallet, took his money and pushed him out of his white 2007 Chrysler 300.

Mr. Pringle was treated for a gunshot wound at University Hospital, a police report said. His wound was not life-threatening.

Trial finds shooting of acquaintance justified

An Augusta man who shot an acquaintance after being attacked in his home was acquitted of felony charges Monday.

At the conclusion of a bench trial in Richmond County Superior Court, Judge Duncan D. Wheale ruled that Frankie R. Quale, 30, was justified in shooting Sean Cowan in August 2006.

Mr. Quale and a visitor at his Scenic Drive home on Aug. 3, 2006, testified that Mr. Cowan accused Mr. Quale of asking his girlfriend out and then attacked Mr. Quale without provocation.

Man pleads guilty in fatal drive-by shooting

The second of three men charged in a fatal 2006 drive-by shooting pleaded guilty to reduced charges Monday.

Bryant L. Collier, 21, pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to aggravated assault. Judge Duncan D. Wheale accepted the plea negotiation, which called for 10 years in prison followed by 10 years on probation.

Mr. Collier and Alvin L. Scott, 24, have pleaded guilty in the June 24, 2006, shooting that killed 27-year-old John D. Grimes III and wounded Steven L. Griffin. A third man, Terrell A. Green, 20, still faces trial.

Registration deadline for vote on town nears

The voter registration deadline for the Graniteville-Vaucluse-Warrenville incorporation referendum is Saturday, according to the Aiken County Registration and Elections Commission.

Anyone who lives in the proposed municipality and is 18 years old by Aug. 26 can register at the Voter Registration and Elections office at 916 Vaucluse Road in Aiken, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. They also may go to the Web site,, and print a voter registration form or obtain a form at a local post office.

Butler will hold camp for incoming freshmen

Butler High School will hold Freshman Academy Saturday Camp on Aug. 2

The camp will allow students to meet teachers, administrators and classmates; get schedules; buy lockers and sign up for extracurricular activities. Transportation and lunch will be provided.

Students are asked to RSVP by calling Butler High at (706) 796-4959 no later than Monday.

Ozone alert declared for Augusta, Aiken

Expected high temperatures and stagnant wind conditions have led authorities to declare an ozone alert for the Augusta-Aiken area today.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control declared an Ozone Action Day for Aiken, Edgefield and Barnwell counties, and the air quality Web site declared an Alert Day for Augusta.

It is a good idea to limit outside exertion, particularly for those with respiratory diseases such as asthma, DHEC cautioned in a news release.

Higher concentrations of ground-level ozone are formed when volatile organic compounds in the air, many from vehicle emissions, react with sunlight. The conditions are compounded when the air is stagnant.