Originally created 11/05/02

Across the area



Man charged in computer theft

A homeless man was charged early Monday with stealing a computer from a Paine College dormitory, authorities said.

Nehemiah Robinson Jr., 39, was charged with felony burglary after he was seen walking near the college carrying a Gateway computer, complete with the monitor, modem, keyboard and mouse, said Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Ken Glisson.

Two police officers from the Medical College of Georgia, Steven Douglas and Gregory Lemons, saw him walking on 15th Street and stopped him, police said.

The computer had been taken from a computer room at Gray House dormitory, Investigator Glisson said.

Police charge woman with identity fraud

Police charged an Augusta woman Monday with using a checking account number from the CSRA Economic Opportunity Authority to pay her power bill, authorities said.

Cheryl Lakeisha Harris, 25, of the 1700 block of Essie McIntyre Boulevard, was charged with felony financial identity fraud, said Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Greg Newsome.

Police say the authority paid Ms. Harris' rent when she was about to be evicted. The woman then took the checking account number and used it to pay her $275 Georgia Power Co. bill, Investigator Newsome said.

Store worker charged with credit-card fraud

An employee of T.J. Maxx in Augusta has been charged with using a customer's credit card number to pay her own bills, according to a Richmond County Sheriff's Office report.

Ryneka Risha Collins, 21, of the 4000 block of Brook Crossing in Martinez, was charged with felony financial transaction card fraud.

Lisa Steedley, of North Augusta, told police she purchased items at T.J. Maxx on Wrightsboro Road on Oct. 8. When she received her bill, she noticed $600 in charges from Rainbow Rental and a financial company, none of which she had made, the report states.

Ms. Collins used the card number to make the charges over the telephone, the report states.

Election Day gives many pupils a holiday

Columbia County's 19,042 pupils will not have school today.

Instead, the day will be used as one of the 10 teacher workdays required during the year.

It is also Election Day, and many schools are used as polling places.

"So many of our schools are used as polling places," said school Superintendent Tommy Price. "Particularly when we are expecting a heavy turnout, it's just a much easier day not to have the students present when we have so many visitors to the campus."

Pupils also will get a holiday in South Carolina, where state law requires that schools be closed for the general election during even-numbered years.

Police arrest three at First Friday event

Police working in downtown Augusta for First Friday festivities made three arrests, according to jail records.

Tilla A. Rabon, 45, who told police she was homeless, was charged with misdemeanor prostitution. Jail records indicate she was arrested at 1:10 a.m. Saturday on the corner of 10th and Broad streets. She remained in jail Monday on additional charges of cocaine possession and a Magistrate Court bench warrant, jail officials said.

Walter Bell, 59, of the 1300 block of Greene Street, was charged with disorderly conduct. He was arrested at 11 p.m. Friday at 10th and Broad streets.

Ted A. Carpenter, 39, of Horseman Road, Beech Island, was charged with driving with a suspended license after he was stopped at 8:20 p.m. Friday in the 500 block of Broad Street.

Homeowner's shooting misses invader's truck

A New Ellenton man opened fire on a home invader Monday, police said, but missed the intruder.

Keith Haynes, 31, told the Aiken County Sheriff's Office that the intruder woke him at his home in the 200 block of Biscayne Road by opening his bedroom door at 1 p.m., Capt. Michael Frank said. The man fled when he saw Mr. Haynes in the bed, the captain said.

The intruder jumped into a blue truck driven by another man. By that time, Mr. Haynes had gotten a gun and fired two shots at the truck as it drove away, Capt. Frank said.

The intruder is described as white, 20 to 25 years old, 6 feet 1 inch tall and weighing 210 pounds. He had brown, collar-length hair and a mustache.

Church concert pays tribute to patriots

First Baptist Church of Augusta will offer a musical salute to American patriots at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

Music will be provided by the Lakeside High School Wind Symphony and Concert Choir.

The church is at 3500 Walton Way.

For more information, call 733-2236.

Nursing home offers Veterans Day event

A free Veterans Day ceremony will take place at 9 a.m. Monday at the Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home, 1101 15th St.

Mayor Bob Young and U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood, R-Ga., will be the guest speakers.

Entertainment will be provided by the Army Signal Corps Band and the Post Ceremonial Detachment Color Guard from Fort Gordon and the Butler High School Drill Team.

For more information, call Charles Esposito at 721-2531.

Fire-safety tips available at library

A free fire safety demonstration will be given at 1 p.m. Monday at the Friedman Branch Library, 1447 Jackson Road.

For more information, call 736-6758.

Rotary club sponsors yard-sale benefit

A yard sale Saturday will benefit the Augusta Training Shop for the Handicapped.

The event is to begin at 7 a.m. at the Lowe's on Peach Orchard Road. It is sponsored by the Augusta South Rotary Club.

For more information, call Sandra Gurley at 724-2601.

Man with Alzheimer's drives off with youths

A 73-year-old man with Alzheimer's disease drove away from an Augusta grocery store with his three young grandchildren Monday night after being left unattended. Police found the man and the children unharmed about an hour later on East Boundary Street.

Harold Carter Prather, of Augusta, was waiting inside a car with his grandchildren - a 4-year-old girl, a 3-year-old girl and an 8-month-old boy - as his daughter, Tammy Tamikia Prather, went inside the Bi-Lo on Wrightsboro Road, Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Shannon Mitchell, said.

A friend of Ms. Prather stayed in the car at first but later joined her inside the store, the investigator said.

When Ms. Prather returned to the parking lot at about 5:45 p.m., she saw that the car was missing and called police.

Electric company will raise rate 1 percent

South Carolina Electric and Gas bills in North Augusta will be higher next year but not as high as city officials had anticipated.

The city council had voted to increase North Augusta's franchise fees for electric and gas service from 3 to 5 percent next year in anticipation of SCE&G's collecting the fee at the beginning of 2003.

The council voted Monday night to increase the fee to 4 percent next April after learning the company collects the fee at year's end. The fee will rise to 5 percent in April 2004.