Originally created 06/26/02

Across the area



Report claims abuse of detainee

The Department of Family and Children Services is investigating a claim of abuse involving a 14-year-old detainee at the Augusta Youth Development Campus.

The boy claimed a female juvenile correctional officer struck him in the face and twisted his arm, according to Richmond County DFCS director Carolyn Beard. DFCS received the report Friday, she said.

The department has 30 days to complete its investigationunder Department of Human Resources policy. The results will be turned over to the facility. If the boy's claim is verified, it will be up to administrators to ensure the child's safety, Ms. Beard said.

Jaci Vickers, a spokeswoman for the Department of Juvenile Justice, said she could not comment because she would not be able to obtain a report until today. She said juvenile justice facilities summon DFCS anytime a child may have been harmed.

Drug sting in Millen ends in many arrests

Authorities in Millen, Ga., arrested about 30 people Tuesday as part of a yearlong narcotics investigation.

Several agencies - including the Millen Police Department, the Jenkins County Sheriff's Office and the East Central Georgia Drug Task Force - were part of the undercover sting, said Jenkins County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Tracey Herrington. Police began making arrests about 6 a.m., tracking more than 40 people on a list, she said.

Some of those arrested had made bond by noon, Sgt. Herrington said. Charges stemming from the sting include the sale of cocaine, the sale of cocaine within a school zone and the sale of a noncontrolled substance, she said.

Robber strikes at bank near Augusta Mall

Police are trying to identify a man who robbed a branch of Wachovia Bank near Augusta Mall on Monday.

The man entered the bank off Wrightsboro Road and handed a note to a teller, said Maj. Ken Autry of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Maj. Autry said the man left the bank with an undisclosed amount of cash. He was described as 5 feet, 9 inches tall with a heavy build. Police say the robber may have left the area in a white, full-sized extended-cab pickup truck.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Richmond County Sheriff's Office at 821-1080.

Men admit break-ins during traffic stop

Two Augusta men admitted during a traffic stop Tuesday that they had stolen the car they were riding in and had broken into three other vehicles at Woodbine West subdivision, authorities said.

Matthew Howard Williams, 18, of Stephens Road, and Michael Thomas Robinson, 22, of Old Ferry Road, were charged with three counts of entering an automobile and one count of theft by taking a motor vehicle.

Richmond County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Jimmy Vowell said the officer, who stopped the men for speeding, realized the vehicle wasn't registered to either of them. The pair then confessed, he said.

The men said they had broken into three vehicles on Folkstone Circle, hauling off tools and radios and stacking them against a brick gate for retrieval later. The suspects told police they entered a 1997 Honda Accord, found keys inside and decided to take it, Sgt. Vowell said.

Hungry man charged in house burglary

Two North Augusta children returned home with their baby sitter to find a man sitting underneath their canopy eating leftover spaghetti, the children's mother told police.

Pedro Gomez, 23, told officers that his hunger motivated him to break into the home at 725 Riverview Drive on Monday, a public safety report stated.

QuinAnn Golden said her children and the sitter came home about 3 p.m. Monday and saw the man sitting on the front porch, eating the spaghetti. She said the man had a smile on his face and didn't move from his spot.

"He just sat there like he owned the place," Ms. Golden said Tuesday.

The children and the sitter went to a neighbor's house, and the neighbor called police. Mr. Gomez was later booked on a burglary charge at the Aiken County Detention Center, where he was given a meal.

Two-vehicle collision kills one driver

A Dearing man was killed Tuesday when his vehicle crossed the center line on Warrenton Highway and struck a Coca-Cola truck, authorities said.

Henry Keith Johnson, 30, was taken to the McDuffie Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, authorities said. The accident occurred at 5:40 a.m., not far from the McDuffie-Warren county line, according to authorities with the Georgia State Patrol.

Witnesses said Mr. Johnson's Mitsubishi pickup truck crossed the line into the westbound lane, where it hit a Coca-Cola truck driven by Horace Lampkin, 40, of Hephzibah. Mr. Lampkin was taken by ambulance to Medical College of Georgia Hospital, where he was treated and released.

Investigators study fires in two vacant homes

Arson investigators were probing two fires at vacant homes Tuesday.

The first fire began just after midnight Tuesday and destroyed an abandoned house at 1928 Greene St., said Lt. G.B. Hannan of the Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department. The fire appears to have started upstairs in the two-story home, he said.

Firefighters extinguished the flames but were called back a second time, Lt. Hannan said. Because there was no insurance and the owner had abandoned the home, authorities did not risk a climb to the heavily damaged second floor to investigate. The cause of the fire was ruled undetermined but suspicious.

A second fire was reported about 6 p.m. Tuesday at 1289 Augusta Ave., Lt. Hannan said. The fire at the vacant home was extinguished in 18 minutes and was contained to one room, but it appeared suspicious, he said.

Anyone with information on the fires is asked to call the fire department at 821-2930.

Night club reports theft of TVs, money

A big-screen projector, $750 in cash and two TVs were reported stolen Tuesday from an Augusta night club.

The Barracks, in the 1900 block of Walton Way, was burglarized between 2 a.m. and 1:10 p.m., according to a Richmond County Sheriff's Office report.

Someone damaged a sheet-rock wall in front of one of the club's windows to gain entry to the building. The door to a liquor closet also was broken into, and the business' cash register was pulled from the bar and left on the floor.