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Protesters leave Haley tent as gift

COLUMBIA — Occupy Colum­bia protesters have removed their tents and camping gear from the State­house, but not before leaving a tent as a Christ­mas gift for South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who fought for more than a month to kick them off the grounds.

About two dozen protesters marched Friday afternoon from the Statehouse to the Governor’s Mansion. They left a tent, decorated in red bows and green garland, outside the gates of the governor’s home and sang We Wish You a Merry Christmas.

A federal judge approved the state’s new rules prohibiting camping on Statehouse grounds Thursday. The protesters packed up their stuff Friday, ending two months of around-the-clock protests.

Occupy Columbia members say they will keep protesting at the Statehouse.

Suspect subdued with shoppers’ aid

ATHENS, GA. — Police say a woman with a can of pepper spray joined other customers to help subdue a shoplifting suspect at an Athens Macy’s store.

Athens-Clarke County police say a security guard spotted a man stuffing clothes into a bag in Georgia Square Mall on Wednesday.

When the man was confronted, he tried to choke the security guard and punched him several times in the ribs, police say.

Several shoppers intervened, including a woman who sprayed the fighting men with a can of pepper spray, and an off-duty probation officer who helped to handcuff the suspect.

Police said the suspect faces charges of felony theft by shoplifting and battery. Authorities say the guard was not seriously hurt.

Police say masked burglar apologized

ROCK HILL, S.C. — Author­ities say a Rock Hill man broke into an apartment and tried to rob people inside at gunpoint, then took off his mask and apologized after he was recognized.

Police say Zadgery McNeil, 26, forced his way into an apartment earlier this month, pointed a gun at a woman and demanded money. Investigators say he then went into another room and told a man to stop telling people he was a snitch.

Police say the man recognized McNeil’s voice, and the robber took off his mask and apologized for breaking in, then left.

McNeil is in the York County jail charged with burglary and armed robbery.

In other news

SOUTH CAROLINA Trea­surer Curtis Loftis says he has voted against giving the departing chief investment officer of the state’s pension fund an $80,000 payout.


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