Originally created 09/01/01

Teen carjacking details surface



NBA player William Avery and his Mercedes were a target of four Augusta teen-agers on a carjacking spree this week, authorities said.

During police interrogation, two of the teens said they saw the local basketball star and his girlfriend leaving Brunswick National Lanes on Washington Road early Tuesday and decided they could score big if they robbed the well-paid athlete, sheriff's Investigator Scott Peebles said. Mr. Avery and his girlfriend, Chasity Roberson, left the bowling alley, each driving a Mercedes.

"They are riding through the parking lot of the bowling alley, and they are like, 'Man, that's William Avery in his girl's car. ... If we pull that lick, we are for sure going to get some money.' So they start talking about waiting for them to come out to their cars, and pull robberies on them," Investigator Peebles said.

"They wanted to rob William Avery more than anything, but he turned off (the highway) first, so they tried to stop and rob her. But she was able to out-drive them."

Ms. Roberson was boxed in by three cars on the John C. Calhoun Expressway, but sped away and found a sheriff's deputy.

Mr. Avery, 22, an Augusta native, is a former Duke athlete and current point guard for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

B.J. Lorenzo White, 17, Melvin D. Boyd, 16, and Jason Bernard Thrower, 18, were charged Thursday with the attempted carjacking involving Ms. Roberson and a related armed robbery of a 2000 Mitsubishi Montero Sport from two Augusta sisters. Mr. Boyd and Mr. Thrower were also charged with two robberies from Wednesday.

Officers continued their search Friday for a fourth suspect, 17-year-old Jordash Antwan Tanksley.

The teens acknowledged their carjacking spree was stupid, and Investigator Peebles said they seemed to get the carjacking idea after riding around and seeing vehicles they wanted.

"I think the idea comes up and it just gets out of hand, and it jumps from fantasy to reality," he said. "And no one has the guts once the idea comes up to say, 'Hey, you guys can't be serious.' No one wanted to jump forward and say that."

Maj. Ken Autry said good investigative work by Investigator Billy Kitchens developed the teens as suspects. On Thursday, officers picked up Mr. White at Glenn Hills High School. Mr. Thrower was picked up in class at the Academy of Richmond County, where he is a senior. A stolen Toyota Camry was found in the school's parking lot.

Mr. Boyd is a student at T.W. Josey High School. He was arrested Thursday while driving in a stolen car near his high school.

All of the vehicles were recovered, but the teens said the steering wheel locked up on the Montero Sport, and they wrecked it into a building on White Road.

The students, who attend different schools but know each other through mutual friends, told authorities that one of them found the gun that was used in the crimes, Investigator Peebles said.

"They would change guns at certain points. They would decide who was going to do this robbery, and they would almost take turns with who was going to do what," the investigator said.

Mr. White, Mr. Boyd and Mr. Thrower were being held Friday at the Richmond County jail without bond.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Mr. Tanksley is asked to call 821-1080.

Reach Greg Rickabaugh at (706) 828-3851 or greg.rickabaugh@augustachronicle.com.