Police have few clues in mall beating

The investigation into last week's beating and robbery of a man inside an Augusta Mall Sears bathroom has turned up few leads, and police said Thursday they're reviewing security videotapes.

 

Lawrence Stephens, a 54-year-old security employee at Plant Vogtle, said he was in the Sears restroom Nov. 23 when someone grabbed him from behind, according to a Richmond County Sheriff's Office report.

Another person began hitting him in the face and body, the report stated.

The assailants stole the man's cash and wallet and fled before he could catch a glimpse of them, and he might have blacked out, according to Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Cheryl Dorsey.

"We don't have any good suspects right now because he didn't see exactly what went on," she said. "We're still reviewing camera equipment from the mall, but that doesn't look promising at all."

Mr. Stephens was taken to Doctors Hospital, where he was treated for several broken bones in his face.

Investigator Dorsey said the store's security camera operators were following a shoplifter at the time the beating occurred. She said that is one reason they have few images from near the store's restrooms.

"That's what caused them to lose sight of the other part of the store because they were basically trying to focus on the guy who was trying to rob them," she said.

Sgt. Robert Cross, who works special duty assignments for the Augusta Mall, responded to the incident. He said the off-duty police hired by the mall stick to the common areas and don't typically patrol the department stores.

A message left for mall manager Linda Hardin was not returned Thursday.

Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3339 or adam.folk@augustachronicle.com.