Columbia County records researcher charged

Monday, June 17, 2013 11:35 AM
Last updated 8:05 PM
  • Follow Crime & courts

A courthouse researcher was charged with the theft of public documents after records related to the ownership of a storm-damaged road in Barrington subdivision vanished from the Columbia County Clerk of Superior Court’s records room.

Vanessa Robin Waldron, 53, an employee of Augusta-based Lawyers Abstract Co., was charged with two counts of stealing or altering public documents and one count of making false statements or writings, according to a Columbia County Sheriff’s Office booking report.

Clerk of Court Cindy Mason called authorities Thursday after learning that two pages had been removed from both grantor books that contain index cards used to guide researchers to original property documents.

According to a sheriff’s office incident report, Mason told police that Waldron brought the missing pages to the attention of courthouse employees.

Mason offered to share video surveillance footage of the area with investigators, who arrested Waldron on Friday.

Sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris said that only the index reference cards were missing and that all original property records are accounted for.

Waldron’s employer, Lawyers Abstract Co., had been retained on behalf of the Barrington homeowners association to gather records involving a subdivision road damaged after heavy rains June 3.

A pipe beneath Lakestone Court in Barrington gave way, causing a pavement collapse that limited access to 12 homes.

The county already has begun repairs while attorneys determine who owns the road and who bears financial responsibility for its restoration.

A document filed in the clerk of court’s office in 1991 transfers to the county the ownership of the road, but not the dam from the neighboring pond running under the road, from the now-defunct Waterford Development Co. and the Barrington Home Owners Association.

The same document relieves the county of responsibility for maintenance of the dam and repair of the road if it is damaged because of dam failure.

A plat also filed in the clerk’s office in 1999, however, transfers the ownership of Lakestone Court to the county.

In an interview last week with the Columbia County News-Times, County Administrator Scott Johnson said that the damaged road is a public safety issue that the county must address immediately and that attorneys can work out ownership, responsibility and potential reimbursement later.

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Dixieman
12942
Points
Dixieman 06/17/13 - 11:50 am
5
1
Huh?

She reported the pages missing and now is being charged with their theft?
Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

Sweet son
9713
Points
Sweet son 06/17/13 - 12:00 pm
6
0
What would be the reason for removing the pages?

Maybe to keep others from being able to easily find the original deeds, plats etc. We all realize that the Barrington folks would want the county to be the owner so taxpayers would pay for the repair as would be the case for most roads in the county. Makes you wonder what/who prompted her to remove the pages!

Are the charges felonies or misdemeanors?

BamaMan
2209
Points
BamaMan 06/17/13 - 12:01 pm
6
0
Dixieman

Well, it says video footage was provided of the area.

my.voice
4654
Points
my.voice 06/17/13 - 12:57 pm
7
0
The question is WHO sent her

The question is WHO sent her after those documents?

AND

"However, a plat also filed in the clerk’s office in 1999 transfers ownership of Lakestone Court to the county"

Plats cant do that AC. Only a deed of dedication can do that. A plat may accompany, but a plat is just a drawing.

GnipGnop
11528
Points
GnipGnop 06/17/13 - 01:36 pm
7
1
The good news?

She is now qualified to be the head of a department in Richmond County....

daviddunagan
331
Points
daviddunagan 06/17/13 - 02:28 pm
1
1
A fine woman & family

I'm giving her the benefit of doubt. I know her personally and have done business with her. She is an honorable woman plus the story just doesn't make sense. Let the facts come out on this one please. DD

Fiat_Lux
14851
Points
Fiat_Lux 06/17/13 - 03:22 pm
3
1
This sounds very odd

Apparently the only things missing are some index cards, not legal documents. If the researcher couldn't find what she was looking for and in her search removed the index cards, which presumably were not attached, I don't see why she is being charged if the pages she is supposed to have removed and stolen are not, in fact, missing at all.

Sounds like a tosser.

tl-bro
142
Points
tl-bro 06/17/13 - 09:27 pm
0
2
Plats can transfer ownership...

Under Georgia law, if signed and approved by the County, a recorded plat can be effective to transfer ownership.

allhans
23288
Points
allhans 06/17/13 - 09:45 pm
3
0
I would think that the video

I would think that the video shows something suspicious or charges would not have been made.

Young Fred
15724
Points
Young Fred 06/18/13 - 01:18 am
3
0
"Well, it says video footage

"Well, it says video footage was provided of the area."

"It says"?

This whole thing does'nt pass the smell test.

But hey, nobody ever claimed baddies are the sharpest knives in the drawer.

soapy_725
43555
Points
soapy_725 06/18/13 - 08:08 am
1
0
She does TITLE SEARCHES for lawyers.
Unpublished

Her actions would make it difficult for someone else to do a true and complete title search. Sort of like the incomplete title search for the land under the TEE Center.

People do steal original records from the courthouse.

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