Across the Area

Two men charged in string of copper thefts

Investigators from Columbia and Richmond counties teamed up to arrest two people suspected in copper thefts that cost the victims more than $60,000.

Xavier Jenkins and Albert Williams are accused in both counties of tearing apart air conditioning units and selling the aluminum and copper coils inside.

Investigators say the two men started in late April on Ponder Place Drive and Davis Road in Columbia County.

They next hit the Mount Zion Garden Apartments on the 2400 block of Amsterdam Drive in Richmond County on May 1, a police report states. They earned about $1,000 for the damage they caused, which exceeded $60,000, according to the report.

Investigators said evidence left at the scene linked the two crimes, but they declined to give specifics.

Jenkins, 19, of the 2400 block of Bahama Drive, was charged with criminal damage in the second degree.

Williams, 20, of the 3100 block of Bellemeade Drive, was charged with theft by receiving stolen property.

Vehicle break-ins plague subdivisions

In the past month, the Columbia County Sheriff's Office has responded to 17 vehicle break-ins in the gated West Lake community, including seven late Sunday and early Monday.

Waterford subdivision, off Gibbs and Hereford Farm roads in Evans, also had six reported break-ins late Monday and early Tuesday, according to sheriff's office incident reports.

The thieves are stealing purses; wallets; and electronics, including laptop computers, cell phones, GPS units and cameras, police said.

Graniteville meth lab leads to two arrests

Aiken County deputies say "numerous" anonymous complaints led them to a portable methamphetamine lab in Graniteville on Tuesday.

A search of a house in the 100 block of Whaley Pond Road uncovered the lab, along with a firearm and a "quantity" of finished methamphetamine, according to a police statement.

Amber Robinson, 17, of Beech Island; and Trebor Cockrell, 25, of North Augusta, were charged with manufacturing meth within a half-mile of a school, unlawful disposal of meth waste and possession of meth with intent to distribute, the statement said.

This is Cockrell's second arrest on charges of manufacturing meth; he's also charged with possession of more than 12 grams of pseudoephedrine, according to a police report.

---Correction: Because incorrect information was provided to The Chronicle, a previous version of this story gave an incorrect age for Amber Robinson.

Interim counsel will take over post

The Augusta Commission announced Wednesday that it would name Andrew MacKenzie as its new general counsel at an upcoming meeting.

MacKenzie has served as interim county attorney since the December resignation of Chiquita Johnson.

The announcement follows a 75-minute closed-door "legal meeting" held at the end of Tuesday's commission meeting.

MacKenzie's salary was not specified. His base annual salary was $103,000 in February, according to personnel records.

Drill will test medical community's response

Area hospitals will participate today in a mock disaster response sponsored in part by Fort Gordon at Augusta Regional Airport.

The exercise will be used to determine the medical community's response to a large-scale disaster, according to a press release. Fort Gordon and the National Disaster Medical System are co-sponsoring the exercise, which will include more than 300 personnel from the different agencies.