Originally created 02/12/02

Crimes lead to police warning



North Augusta police warned residents Monday to take extra precautions at their homes until officers find those responsible for two Sunday night home invasions.

"My advice to them is that if someone knocks on the door late at night, and the person doesn't identify themselves, I wouldn't open the door," Public Safety Detective Tim Thornton said.

Investigators spent Monday re-interviewing the elderly couple and middle-aged man who were victims in the home invasions. In both cases, police say two men forced their way in with a gun and tied up the residents while rummaging through the homes.

On Edgewood Drive, police say, resident Albert Eason was assaulted by the men when he tried to resist. Mr. Eason, 42, was released Monday from Medical College of Georgia Hospital after being treated for facial injuries, Detective Thornton said.

At Breckenridge Villas of Atomic Road on Monday, retired couple Lawrence and Marian Odland were canceling their stolen credit cards and cleaning fingerprint dust left by police detectives.

For most of the morning, residents in the apartment complex offered help and expressed surprise at the crime, Mr. Odland said.

The couple, who moved to North Augusta in June, said they were expecting a visit by their son when someone came to the door about 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Mr. Odland answered the door, and a man put a gun to his neck and forced the couple to lie face down in the living room.

The two men ransacked the house, taking a DVD player, jewelry and other belongings.

Mr. Odland said he had become lax about bolting the door.

"We're normally a little more careful than that," he said.

The World War II veteran said he quickly decided against fighting the men, telling them to take what they wanted. After they left, the Odlands wiggled out of the cord they were bound with and went to a neighbor's house to call 911.

The couple said they found it difficult to go to sleep Sunday night.

"I already have wrinkles. But this morning, I had grooves," Mr. Odland said.

Witnesses in both home invasions say the men were seen leaving in a white pickup. One is described as a black male, about 6 feet, 2 inches tall, 200 pounds, with a slender build and short hair and wearing a dark T-shirt, stocking cap and light-colored jacket. Both men are described as between 20 and 25 years old.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at (803) 279-2121.

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