Originally created 03/30/03

Across the area



Elderly woman's body found

Authorities found Saturday the remains of an elderly woman who had been dead for several months at her home, said Investigator Shannon Mitchell with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Audrey G. Braithwaite, 79, was found dead in her home on the 3000 block of Spring Grove Drive in south Augusta, Investigator Mitchell said.

The cause of death is unknown, but Investigator Mitchell said authorities do not suspect foul play, and said cash was found sitting undisturbed on a table, with no other valuables gone from the residence.

Ms. Braithwaite was last seen before Thanksgiving, Investigator Mitchell said.

Children from the neighborhood alerted their parents that there was a bad smell coming from the house, and their parents called the police, he said.

Ms. Braithwaite's remains will be sent to a state crime lab in Atlanta for autopsy, Investigator Mitchell said.

Burglar kicks in door of downtown law firm

Someone forced his way into a building in downtown Augusta early Saturday morning, according to the Richmond County Sheriff's Office. The building holds a law firm and a court reporting business.

Culpepper Reporting, McCracken Attorney at Law and Hammond Attorney at Law, in the 500 block of Courthouse Lane, were broken into when someone kicked in a door on the lower west side of the building, according to police reports.

Almost $4,000 worth of computer and dictation equipment was taken from the court reporting firm, according to police reports, but William McCracken told police he was not sure whether anything had been taken from his office.

Police were unable to reach anyone from the Hammond law office.

Bi-Lo employee halts steak, shrimp thief

Someone tried to take more than $200 worth of steak and shrimp out of a Bi-Lo grocery store Saturday afternoon, according to the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

An employee of the Bi-Lo store in the 1600 block of Gordon Highway told police a man put the items in old Wal-Mart bags in a shopping cart before trying to leave.

The employee confronted the man and held the shopping cart away from him, according to police reports. She said the man then left the store and rode a bicycle down Gordon Highway.

Thief sets car ablaze while stealing stereo

An Augusta man told police that the interior of his car caught fire when someone took his car stereo during the weekend.

Dejeneiro A. Powell, 21, said someone removed a combination CD player and radio, worth $160, from his 1991 Eagle Talon late Friday or early Saturday. The car was parked at his home in the 2400 block of Juniper Drive in south Augusta.

Police reports indicated that the interior of the car caught fire when a positive terminal wire from the stereo grounded inside the vehicle.

Police reports did not indicate the extent of the damage.

Truck worker reports theft of cigarettes

On Friday, a Hephzibah trucking company reported to police that four cases of cigarettes had been stolen from the company's premises.

Raymond Butler, an employee of AAA Cooper Transportation, 1109 Chambers Drive, told the Richmond County Sheriff's Office that $3,400 worth of Newport cigarettes were stolen between March 17 and March 21.

Mr. Butler said he plans to prosecute when a suspect is arrested.

319th families plan gifts for reservists

Families of the 319th Transportation Company, which is in Iraq, will send care packages to the local Army Reserve unit and allow the community to participate.

The support group will collect items this week. Any items forbidden by Islam - such as pork and pork products, pornography, alcoholic beverages, tobacco products and narcotics - should be avoided. The U.S. Postal Service Web site at www.usps.com offers a list of items that should not be sent to a Middle Eastern country.

Sgt. Kathleen Taylor, of the reserve center, said soldiers have said they need bottled water, moistened hand wipes and any products for skin cleansing and personal hygiene, writing utensils, candy, snacks, canned meats and telephone calling cards.

The items will be shipped April 5.

Anyone interested in shipping something to the unit can contact Sgt. Taylor at 481-1563 or stop by the Roy W. Miller Army Reserve Center at 3311 Wrightsboro Road.

Repair work will close lane of King Boulevard

The northbound lane of the 1700 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard will be closed from 8 a.m. Monday through 5 p.m. Tuesday as workers repair a cave-in.

The southbound lane will remain open and flagmen will control traffic, an Augusta Public Works and Engineering Department news release states. Motorists are asked to use Old Savannah Road to avoid the site.

Road construction closes three streets

Three Columbia County roads will be closed for part of this week.

Winfield Hills Road will be closed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday. The Columbia County Roads and Bridges Department will replace the storm drain at 7604 Winfield Hills Road.

Also beginning Monday, drivers will need to avoid Evans to Locks Road from Washington Road to North Belair Road, and the outside westbound lane on Washington Road from North Belair Road to Evans to Locks Road.

The temporary closure will allow workers to pave the north side of Washington Road and reconstruct the roads at Evans to Locks and Washington.

The project is expected to begin at 8 a.m. Monday and be completed by 5 p.m. Friday.

That portion of Evans to Locks Road is expected to remain closed to all traffic during the work.

The westbound lane on Washington Road will be closed from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.