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Home invasions not rising, authorities say

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A shocking slaying and a rash of home invasions has raised fears among some Augusta-area residents, but law enforcement officials say there's no cause for alarm.



In June, seven home invasions were reported in Augusta; several more were reported outside the city.

However, Richmond County Sheriff's Lt. Calvin Chew said the rate of such crimes is not increasing.

Numbers usually level out, according to Chew, and while some months have more home invasions than others, overall there isn't an upward trend. June's incidents were clustered together, but there is no reason to believe the cases are related.

In Burke County, Ralph and Trudie Gordon, both 82, were found dead in their home on Father's Day. GBI investigators estimate the deaths were the result of a home invasion two days before.

Tony O. Grubbs was arrested as a suspect in the deaths on June 22.

In Columbia County, Capt. Steve Morris could recall only two invasions this year.

Morris recalled one invasion in March but doesn't believe it was a "random act." Investigators believe it was possibly drug-related.

Columbia County's most recent incident on June 29 left one man shot in the arm, but no items were stolen from his Ridge Crossing apartment. Both the victim and the three suspects were taken into custody. Charges against the victim included possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, according to incident reports.

The bulk of Augusta's invasions, according to Chew, are drug-related.

"Sometime we know right off the bat," he said. "We can smell marijuana and we can see remnants of the drug in the house."

The difficulty is getting victims to admit drugs were a motive.

Chew said he rarely handles a case where a family experiences a random home invasion.

When it does happen, it's often a burglary attempt gone awry -- criminals burst in without knowing people are home.

The term "home invasion" doesn't even exist in the crime code, Morris said. It likely originated as common usage by police officers and media, similar to "carjacking."

Technically, carjacking should be referred to as highjacking, just as a home invasion should be referred to as burglary and additional charges, Morris said.

But frequently, any burglary involving violent crime can be labeled a home invasion and definitions can vary from station to station.

"Basically if they break into a home by force and commit a felony inside then it's a home invasion," Chew said.

Subjects usually enter the home after dark by kicking in a door and often a weapon is involved.

About 30 percent of victims are injured during a home invasion, Chew said, and rarely is anyone killed.

But it does happen. He recalled two deaths during home invasions in the past several years, one recently.

Lawanda Persons was shot to death May 15 after an invasion at 11th and D'Antignac streets. Police said there are currently no suspects in the Persons case.

The other death occurred in 2008 on Royal Street.

For concerned homeowners, law enforcement advised installing a peephole or alarm system and using caution about opening doors to strangers.

"A lot of times we find out after the fact that the victim or neighbor of the victim observed or heard suspicious activity and failed to report it," Morris said.

If you find yourself the victim in a home invasion, Morris advised to avoid leaving your residence with the suspect, such as going to an ATM or bank.

"At the same time, it's probably best to comply with their demands within reason to avoid physical injury or death," Morris said.

Home invasions in June

JUNE 3, 3 A.M., EAST TELFAIR STREET: Three armed suspects entered an apartment and began snooping. Six victims were there at the time. Before leaving empty-handed, the suspects made the male victims remove their pants.

JUNE 14, NOON, HILLCREST DRIVE, NORTH AUGUSTA: Two boys, ages 10 and 13, took shelter in a closet after a suspect kicked in the door.

JUNE 20, NINTH STREET, WAYNESBORO, GA.: Ralph and Trudie Gordon, both 82, were found dead in their home. Investigators think they were killed June 18.

JUNE 21, 2:45 P.M., BRAYTON STREET: A man and his elderly mother were asked for money after a suspect came into their residence. The man said he thought the invasion was related to a car he had been repairing.

JUNE 22, 3 A.M., OLD SAVANNAH ROAD: Two suspects demanded money and drugs from a man and woman in the home. Both suspects were armed but left without anything.

JUNE 22, 3:15 A.M., FOX TRACE: A victim struggled against two armed suspects and shots were fired into the bedroom wall. The suspects left with two cell phones.

JUNE 23, 6 A.M., MIKE PADGETT HIGHWAY: A woman woke to find a man in her home. The man raped her while holding a butcher knife to her neck. Brent Domeki Boone, 28, was later arrested and charged with burglary, rape and possession of a knife during the commission of a crime.

JUNE 24, 1:25 A.M., MURPHEY ROAD: Four residents were held at gunpoint. One victim was injured when he was struck with the barrel of a sawed-off shotgun. Suspects left with several electronics and $2,000.

JUNE 24, 1:30 A.M., SPIRIT CREEK ROAD, HEPHZIBAH: A man was shot in the neck after telling two suspects he didn't have any money. Suspects took $100 from the victim's pocket before leaving.

JUNE 29, 1:55 A.M., RIDGE CROSSING APARTMENTS, MARTINEZ: Two suspects wearing ski masks came in and shot a man in the arm. The suspects left without anything. Two suspects were arrested. The victim was also charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

JUNE 29, 8:59 P.M., DAHLIA DRIVE: Three suspects entered with a shotgun and demanded the victim lie still on the couch or he would be shot. They left with an Xbox gaming system with several games and a cell phone.

By the numbers

Richmond County home invasions since 2009:

January 2009: 0

February 2009: 2

March 2009: 2

April 2009: 2

May 2009: 2

June 2009: 1

July 2009: 0

August 2009: 3

September 2009: 4

October 2009: 1

November 2009: 2

December 2009: 0

January 2010: 0

February 2010: 0

March 2010: 2

April 2010: 3

May 2010: 2

Note: Home invasions are not classified on their own and definitions can vary, so numbers are only estimates.

Comments (19) Add comment
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jamesmonty
0
Points
jamesmonty 07/08/10 - 01:16 am
0
0
Law enforcement officials say

Law enforcement officials say there is no cause for alarm because there is not an increase in the crime. But even if the rate stays the same or even decreases I say there is cause for alarm. Even if there was only one a year someone still could end up dead. But, I will not be alarmed because it is not increasing.

Asitisinaug
4
Points
Asitisinaug 07/08/10 - 02:02 am
0
0
Law Enforcement merely stated

Law Enforcement merely stated that the stats are not rising. The reporter is the one stating there is no cause for alarm....imagine that, a reporter helping to make the story...Either way, every violent crime is cause for alarm and a reminder to be pro-active within your home and vigilant when outside in public areas. As long as our courts keep playing catch and release we will continue to have violent crime out of control.

Nightwing
0
Points
Nightwing 07/08/10 - 02:32 am
0
0
There is also, no "gang

There is also, no "gang related activity" in the CSRA, according to the local police.

KSL
144554
Points
KSL 07/08/10 - 04:06 am
0
0
jamesmonty, if the invader is

jamesmonty, if the invader is the one who ends up dead, I would agree, there is no cause for alarm. Several problems solved, Asit.

corgimom
38720
Points
corgimom 07/08/10 - 05:30 am
0
0
KSL, I'm with you.

KSL, I'm with you.

seabeau
33
Points
seabeau 07/08/10 - 06:00 am
0
0
Home invasion should be

Home invasion should be codified as an capital crime. Life behind bars,its sentence.

Richmnd Cty Votr
1
Points
Richmnd Cty Votr 07/08/10 - 07:11 am
0
0
This is a joke, ("A lot of

This is a joke, ("A lot of times we find out after the fact that the victim or neighbor of the victim observed or heard suspicious activity and failed to report it," Morris said.") We report suspicious persons/cars etc. the police arrive, do not see anything in the few seconds they are there, then the police leave almost immediately. WT?, (I see suspicious cars/people every day where I live, ((rural area))sure you do too) ONLY coming back when you report it again! (arriving, seeing nothing, leaving, this gets OLD) LOL! If I reported every suspicious activity I observed daily, my subdivision would need its own police car. They need to come back to these same areas, unanounced at night/early morning to really catch them. But HEY! Augusta is a booming city, booming from crime that is.

dreamchaser
0
Points
dreamchaser 07/08/10 - 06:47 am
0
0
I really love how Chew is

I really love how Chew is adding Burke County and Columbia County which has few home invasions so he can "skew" his data. Hey, Chew, how about putting your stats up for just Richmond County--YOU DON'T WORK IN THE OTHER TWO!

usafvet
3
Points
usafvet 07/08/10 - 07:35 am
0
0
Asitisinaug, "A shocking

Asitisinaug, "A shocking slaying and a rash of home invasions has raised fears among some Augusta-area residents, but law enforcement officials say there's no cause for alarm".
Your reading or comprehension is lacking.

curly123053
5398
Points
curly123053 07/08/10 - 07:39 am
0
0
They will be in for a hard

They will be in for a hard time if they pick my house. 1st my dogs will be all over them, then when I get my GUN it will be all over for them. More people need to arm themselves and start taking these punks out.

seenitB4
98477
Points
seenitB4 07/08/10 - 07:46 am
0
0
I agree with curly....dogs &

I agree with curly....dogs & guns will work.

Richmnd Cty Votr
1
Points
Richmnd Cty Votr 07/08/10 - 07:47 am
0
0
The Sherriffs dept. must be

The Sherriffs dept. must be closing their eyes to not see the increase. One officer that comes repeatedly when called, told me there has not been any trouble in MY neighborhood since he has been patrolling the area. HA! Little does he know, the folks in my area talk to each other. Almost everyone in my small subdivision was hit with some type of crime. Sometimes 2 or 3 times each.

FallingLeaves
27
Points
FallingLeaves 07/08/10 - 10:24 am
0
0
Richmnd Cty Votr. I

Richmnd Cty Votr. I understand what you're saying and agree with you. The reporter may say there is no cause for alarm, but we can certainly disagree. We have to live here and we don't want to end up being another statistic that there is no cause for alarm for. We support law enforcement, we also report crime when we see it, so if somehow things don't get better, we've done what we can and will eventually move away when we have the means to do so. I seriously regret returning to Richmond County (not my idea, I was talked into it by a family member) after living in Martinez. Now I'm stuck here with a stack of police reports.

PUPPYMOMMA
1367
Points
PUPPYMOMMA 07/08/10 - 10:28 am
0
0
Reminds me of when Pres. Bush

Reminds me of when Pres. Bush went on national tv and told the nation that the economy was fine. I saw it and thought"he's not living in my world". About a month after that he acknowledged that things weren't as peachy as he had previously stated. Lt. Chew should "knock on wood."

Richmnd Cty Votr
1
Points
Richmnd Cty Votr 07/08/10 - 11:58 am
0
0
Law enforcement officials!

Law enforcement officials! How do you explain to Ralph and Trudy Gordon's family there is no cause for alarm? Or the person that may be next? How many folks in our area need to be harmed before it is cause for alarm? One is plenty for me. Perhaps YOUR DEPARTMENT's ATTITUDE needs to be adjusted.

baronvonreich
1
Points
baronvonreich 07/08/10 - 12:31 pm
0
0
Well considering Richmond

Well considering Richmond County averaged 1.5 home invasions per month over the past year and a half yet there were 7 in the month of June......I'd say there is reason to be concerned.

countyman?
buehler?
buehler?

chascush
0
Points
chascush 07/08/10 - 03:19 pm
0
0
We all need to get a

We all need to get a concealed weapons permit to protect ourselves from the free loading Hussein followers. Have your gun available and loaded. Augusta is a good example of how well the entitlement programs are working. Hussein wants to increase those programs.

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 07/08/10 - 07:10 pm
0
0
No I'm not being countyman

No I'm not being countyman brainwashed, but there is a little consolation in the fact that most of these home invasions are related to a certain lifestyle and criminal activity. Not that anyone deserves it, but its kind of like an occupational hazzard. When they start in on innocent law abiding citizens a lot, which there have been a couple, thats when the real worry starts. I just wish people like countyman realized its heading that way if they don't put a stop to these wastes of flesh now. I'd love to read more "Home invader shot by armed prepared victim" headlines rather than innocent citizens terrorized by losers who dont want to work for a living!!! Maybe then they would get the point because the current bleeding heart justice system won't do anything worth while to these pathetic people.

flipa
35
Points
flipa 07/10/10 - 06:44 pm
0
0
No cause for Alarm cause U.S.

No cause for Alarm cause U.S. dying is job security for Chew.

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