Originally created 11/27/03

Police arrest suspect in rapes



Police arrested a man on sexual assault charges Wednesday, who they said drove around stalking women in a white, older model Mercury Cougar.

Gerald Wayne Smith, 36, of Corner Street in Augusta, was charged Wednesday with three counts of kidnapping, three counts of criminal attempt at rape and two counts of aggravated sodomy and was being held without bond at the Richmond County jail, according to Richmond County sheriff's Maj. Ken Autry.

"He was basically just riding around until he got an opportunity to talk to a female," Maj. Autry said.

In two cases - one on Sept. 28 in the 3600 block of Peach Orchard Road, the other on Nov. 2 in the 3000 block of Peach Orchard - Mr. Smith sought out women who might be in need of a ride, Maj. Autry said. He approached one woman at a pay phone as she was calling someone for a ride, he said.

After getting them in his Mercury Cougar, Maj. Autry said, Mr. Smith then drove to a secluded area and forced them to have sex with him.

In a third case, on Nov. 21, a woman reported that a man pointed a gun at her as she was walking in the Kmart parking lot on Gordon Highway. According to police reports, the victim said the man drove to the 3600 block of Peach Orchard Road and forced her to perform a sex act on him.

Maj. Autry said descriptions provided by the women, including a tattoo and tag number, helped police find Mr. Smith. He said Mr. Smith was found at about midnight Tuesday in the same area where the other crimes had occurred and that police believe he might have been looking for more women at the time.

"That's what we suspect," he said. "He was in the area that he had been picking women up at."

Maj. Autry said police are searching their database for similar reports.

"When something like this surfaces, we always search our database for related cases," he said. "That's something going on right now. We haven't found any yet, but that's not to say that we won't."

LIST OF CHARGES

The incidents in which Mr. Smith is charged are as follows, according to sheriff's office incident reports:

  • On Sept. 28, a 17-year-old girl said that at 7:23 p.m., she was driven by a man to a location in the 3600 block of Peach Orchard Road, where the man grabbed her by the neck and tried to rape her.
  • On Nov. 2, a 43-year-old woman said that at 1 a.m., she accepted a ride from a man at the intersection of Deans Bridge Road and Golden Camp Road, and that he drove her to a wooded area, where he raped her.
  • On Nov. 21, a 19-year-old woman said that at 7:40 p.m., she was in the parking lot of the Kmart on the 1600 block of Gordon Highway when a man riding in a two-door vehicle pulled up beside her and pointed a gun at her. She said he later forced her at gunpoint to perform a sex act while at a wooded location on Peach Orchard Road.
  • Reach Jeremy Craig or Preston Sparks at (706) 724-0851.



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