Originally created 06/20/02

Across the area



Hains Elementary found vandalized

Authorities on Wednesday were investigating vandalism at a Richmond County elementary school.

Someone broke into Dorothy Hains Elementary between Friday and Wednesday and threw paint on the walls of four portable classrooms, according to a Richmond County Sheriff's Office report. The vandals entered one of the classrooms on Windsor Spring Road by taking the glass out of the window, the report states.

The report states that officers were unable to determine how the vandals entered the other three portable units. Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's office at 821-1080.

Augustan caught in escape attempt

North Carolina police say they thwarted an escape attempt Tuesday by an Augusta man linked to five area convenience store robberies and the shooting of a Partridge Inn manager.

Craig Thomas Pilcher, 31, of Augusta, and murder suspect Hezzie Locklear Jr., of Lumberton, N.C., are accused of overpowering a jailer at the Scotland County jail, handcuffing him in the cell and attempting to escape with the officer's keys, Sheriff Buddy Blalock said.

A deputy in the control room was able to summon help, and the men were captured in a half-hour, he said.

Mr. Pilcher is accused of robbing several Augusta stores in April and May, fleeing to North Carolina and committing more robberies before being captured. He will face charges in North Carolina before being returned to Augusta, police said.

Ricocheted bullet hits man in jaw

A Trenton, S.C., teen was wounded in the jaw early Wednesday by shots ricocheting off his car.

The Aiken County Sheriff's Office arrested Rodney Smith, 24, of Breezy Hill Drive in Graniteville, three hours after the 2 a.m. shooting, said sheriff's Capt. Michael Frank.

Chester Parker, 17, of the 900 block of Springfield Church Road, was taken by ambulance to Aiken Regional Medical Centers, Capt. Frank said.

Chester and a woman had left Mr. Smith's residence to get into their car when several shots were fired from a handgun at the car, Capt. Frank said.

During the shooting, Chester was hit in the lower jaw, Capt. Frank said.

The motive for the shooting is under investigation, the captain said.

Mr. Smith is charged with assault and battery with intent to kill, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, and two counts of pointing and presenting a firearm, Capt. Frank said.

Mr. Smith is being held at the Aiken County Detention Center.

Candidates set debate in race for Congress

A debate between South Carolina's two Republican runoff candidates for the 3rd District congressional race is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday at the Aiken County Council chambers.

The debate will pit Jim Klauber, of Greenwood, against Gresham Barrett, of Westminster. The runoff election is Tuesday.

The event is sponsored by the Aiken County Republican Party. Seating is limited, and audience members cannot ask questions.

More warrants served in drive-by shooting

An Augusta man was charged Wednesday in connection with a drive-by shooting last year that damaged four cars at an area apartment complex.

Larry Thomas Harris, 20, of the 2400 block of Ruby Drive, was arrested during a traffic stop on Lumpkin Road at about 2 a.m. Wednesday. He was served with warrants charging him with aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and giving a false name.

Police say a car carrying four men drove into the Magnolia Park apartment complex on Walden Drive in April 2001 and a passenger fired a weapon toward another man. The man was not injured, but four cars in the parking lot were damaged.

Two other men already have been charged in the shooting.

Police charge man in car break-ins

Authorities have charged an Augusta man with smashing car windows downtown and stealing items from inside, a sheriff's report states.

Thomas Christopher Williams, 28, of the 800 block of Broad Street, was arrested early Tuesday morning and charged with three felony counts of entering an auto.

According to the report, windows were shattered on three cars parked at 730 Broad St. The owners reported sunglasses, cash and a compact-disc player missing. A witness told deputies he saw a man resembling Mr. Williams commit the offense at about 5 a.m. A deputy found him with the stolen sunglasses, a report states.

City will close road for sewerage repairs

Kemp Drive will be closed today through July 19 because of sewer line installation and repair.

The road will be open only to residents of the street. Motorists are asked to use Ingleside Drive and Ashland Drive as detours, according to an Augusta Public Works and Engineering Department news release.

Visible house numbers requested by county

The Columbia County Planning and Development office is urging residents to ensure that their homes have their street address numbers plainly visible from the street so emergency personnel can find the correct address.

House numbers should be at least 3 inches tall, mounted on a mailbox, visible from both directions of the road and not hidden by weeds or flowers.

For more information, call the Columbia County Planning and Development office at 868-3400.

Fire in kitchen destroys 2 rooms

Fire destroyed two rooms inside a home on 15th Street on Wednesday night. No one was hurt.

The blaze started at 7:12 p.m. in the kitchen and spread to the dining room, said Capt. William Spivey, of the Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department. Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire in the 1600 block of 15th Street within several minutes.

Capt. Spivey said the fire burned both rooms and caused smoke damage throughout the house. Firefighters were called back to the residence at about 9:30 p.m. for a smell of gas but found nothing, officials said.

An electrical malfunction in the kitchen air conditioner started the blaze, the department reported.

Hains elementary found vandalized

Authorities on Wednesday were investigating vandalism at a Richmond County elementary school.

Someone broke into Dorothy Hains Elementary between Friday and Wednesday and threw paint on the walls of four portable classrooms, according to a Richmond County Sheriff's Office report. The vandals entered one of the classrooms on Windsor Spring Road by taking the glass out of the window, the report states.

The report states that officers were unable to determine how the vandals entered the other three portable units. Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's office at 821-1080.

Augustan caught in escape attempt

LAURINBURG, N.C. -North Carolina police say they thwarted an escape attempt Tuesday by an Augusta man linked to five area convenience store robberies and the shooting of a Partridge Inn manager.

Craig Thomas Pilcher, 31, of Augusta, and murder suspect Hezzie Locklear Jr., of Lumberton, N.C., are accused of overpowering a jailer at the Scotland County jail, handcuffing him in the cell and attempting to escape with the officer's keys, Sheriff Buddy Blalock said.

A deputy in the control room was able to summon help, and the men were captured in a half-hour, he said.

Mr. Pilcher is accused of robbing several Augusta stores in April and May, fleeing to North Carolina and committing more robberies before being captured. He will face charges in North Carolina before being returned to Augusta, police said.

Ricocheted bullet hits man in jaw

A Trenton, S.C., teen was wounded in the jaw early Wednesday by shots ricocheting off his car.

The Aiken County Sheriff's Office arrested Rodney Smith, 24, of Breezy Hill Drive in Graniteville, three hours after the 2 a.m. shooting, said sheriff's Capt. Michael Frank.

Chester Parker, 17, of the 900 block of Springfield Church Road, was taken by ambulance to Aiken Regional Medical Centers, Capt. Frank said.

Chester and a woman had left Mr. Smith's residence to get into their car when several shots were fired from a handgun at the car, Capt. Frank said.

During the shooting, Chester was hit in the lower jaw, Capt. Frank said.

The motive for the shooting is under investigation, the captain said.

Mr. Smith is charged with assault and battery with intent to kill, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, and two counts of pointing and presenting a firearm, Capt. Frank said.

Mr. Smith is being held at the Aiken County Detention Center.

Candidates set debate in race for Congress

A debate between South Carolina's two Republican runoff candidates for the 3rd District congressional race is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday at the Aiken County Council chambers.

The debate will pit Jim Klauber, of Greenwood, against Gresham Barrett, of Westminster. The runoff election is Tuesday.

The event is sponsored by the Aiken County Republican Party. Seating is limited, and audience members cannot ask questions.

More warrants served in drive-by shooting

An Augusta man was charged Wednesday in connection with a drive-by shooting last year that damaged four cars at an area apartment complex.

Larry Thomas Harris, 20, of the 2400 block of Ruby Drive, was arrested during a traffic stop on Lumpkin Road at about 2 a.m. Wednesday. He was served with warrants charging him with aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and giving a false name.

Police say a car carrying four men drove into the Magnolia Park apartment complex on Walden Drive in April 2001 and a passenger fired a weapon toward another man. The man was not injured, but four cars in the parking lot were damaged.

Two other men already have been charged in the shooting.

Police charge man in car break-ins

Authorities have charged an Augusta man with smashing car windows downtown and stealing items from inside, a sheriff's report states.

Thomas Christopher Williams, 28, of the 800 block of Broad Street, was arrested early Tuesday morning and charged with three felony counts of entering an auto.

According to the report, windows were shattered on three cars parked at 730 Broad St. The owners reported sunglasses, cash and a compact-disc player missing. A witness told deputies he saw a man resembling Mr. Williams commit the offense at about 5 a.m. A deputy found him with the stolen sunglasses, a report states.

City will close road for sewerage repairs

Kemp Drive will be closed today through July 19 because of sewer line installation and repair.

The road will be open only to residents of the street. Motorists are asked to use Ingleside Drive and Ashland Drive as detours, according to an Augusta Public Works and Engineering Department news release.

Police arrest driver after traffic accident

An Augusta motorist was arrested Wednesday after an accident on Highland Avenue near the intersection of Gordon Highway.

The accident occurred at about 5:30 p.m. when the driver of a Hyundai Accent drove out of the parking lot of Speedway gas station, said Richmond County sheriff's Deputy Quinn Bennett. The Accent struck a Ford pickup heading south on Highland Avenue, causing the truck to roll over and land on the driver's side.

Deputy Bennett would not release the names of the drivers involved in the accident. Richmond County jail records show Calvin D. Hatcher, 24, of the 3600 block of Kinglet Court, was charged with failure to yield when crossing a roadway, no proof of insurance and driving with a suspended license.

He was being held at the jail Wednesday on $2,025 bond.

Police charge man in motel robbery

An Augusta man was being held in the Richmond County jail Wednesday without bond, charged with robbing a man at a motel last month.

Christopher D. Curtis is accused of robbing Willie J. Simmon II at Augusta Budget Inn on Broad Street on May 24, according to a Richmond County Sheriff's Office report. Mr. Simmon told police that two men knocked on his door at about 5 a.m., forced their way inside and took his wallet.

Mr. Curtis, 30, of the 2400 block of Bream Avenue, was arrested at 3:25 p.m. Wednesday in the 800 block of Walton Way. He was charged with felony robbery by force and burglary, jail officials said.

Aiken charged with snatching purse

An Aiken man was arrested Wednesday, charged with snatching a purse from a 75-year-old woman.

Martha S. Herndon told authorities she was approached by a man driving a Chevrolet Cavalier at 1:18 p.m. as she walked in the parking lot of Wal-Mart, according to a report at the North Augusta Department of Public Safety. Ms. Herndon said the man reached out, took her purse and drove off.

A short time later, a deputy stopped a Cavalier matching the description on Martintown Road. A woman's wallet and credit cards were on the passenger's seat, the report states.

The driver, Thomas James Burkhart, 25, admitted the theft and was arrested, the report states. Police found $35 on Mr. Burkhart that he said belonged to the victim, the report states. Officers also found crack cocaine.

Mr. Burkhart, of the 300 block of Good Hope Farms Road, was charged with purse snatching and possession of cocaine, the report states.