Originally created 07/22/02

Across the area



Man arrested after break-ins

Authorities say they have caught the cigarette bandit linked to a rash of smash-and-grab burglaries at Augusta convenience stores.

Maurice M. Carter, 48, was arrested Sunday afternoon at Adams Super Inn on Gordon Highway, where he was living, said Lt. Tony Walden of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office. Police said tips from the public helped them make an arrest.

Mr. Carter had been sought since June after police linked him to a half-dozen break-ins. In each case, the burglar threw a cinderblock through a glass window, grabbed an armful of cigarettes and ran before deputies could respond to the alarm.

Mr. Carter is suspected in similar thefts last week at Golden Pantry and S&T Food Store, both on Mike Padgett Highway. He was charged with two felony counts of burglary, and more charges are pending, police said.

Lightning cited in Martinez house fire

Lightning was blamed for a fire that damaged a Martinez home Sunday afternoon, officials said.

No one was injured in the fire at the single-story brick house at 246 Hinman Drive, Battalion Chief Gary Thigpen said. The fire started about 2 p.m. when lightning struck an oak tree in the yard and sent flames into the attic.

Firefighters arrived and were able to keep the flames from spreading to other areas of the home, Chief Thigpen said. The Eure family made arrangements Sunday night to stay elsewhere until the damage could be repaired.

Police break up party, find youths drinking

Deputies broke up a loud weekend party involving underage drinking and arrested the Augusta woman who rented the home, according to a sheriff's report.

Karen Gayle Davidson, 23, of the 2400 block of Mohican Drive, was charged late Saturday with maintaining a disorderly house, the report states. She was released Sunday on bond.

According to reports, police had received several complaints about the party and had warned Ms. Davidson. When they went to the house late Saturday, authorities say, they found 75 people in the house, including several underage people who were drinking.

Richmond County Sheriff's Office deputies took names of the party-goers and poured out the alcohol, police said.

Children taken from mother after arrest

Richmond County social workers took two children away from their mother after the woman was charged with assaulting her estranged husband and unsanitary conditions were found in her home, a sheriff's report states.

Evelyn Mercardo, 42, of the 1900 block of Central Avenue, was charged Saturday with simple battery and obstruction of a law enforcement officer.

According to a report, Ms. Mercado is accused of striking her estranged husband with her fist after he came to the home to pick up his children for a visit. When the woman's 16-year-old daughter tried to stop the assault, she was struck in the shoulder, the report states.

The officer called to the home struggled to arrest Ms. Mercardo, the report states. Social workers placed the children with their father, who lives in Lithonia Spring, Ga.



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