Originally created 03/16/04

Across the area



Restroom fire clears school

Officials evacuated Morgan Road Middle School on Monday morning after someone set fire to a toilet dispenser in a boy's restroom.

No one was hurt, but black smoke poured from the bathroom, leading to the evacuation at about 11 a.m. Firefighters with the Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department extinguished the flames 16 minutes after arriving, and Lt. G.B. Hannan ruled it intentional after finding evidence that someone used a lighter to ignite the plastic dispenser.

No arrest has been made. A stall in the bathroom, located in the main building near the gymnasium, was damaged, and two hallways had light smoke damage, authorities said.

Former county official arrested

A former Richmond County commissioner was charged with drug possession Monday, according to Richmond County sheriff’s records.Paul William “Bill” Hiers, 58, was arrested and charged with felony possession of cocaine at about 5:30 p.m., according to jail records.Mr. Hiers, of the 200 block of Willowood Court, remained in the jail Monday night, held on bonds of $4,050, jail officials said.Mr. Hiers, a real estate broker, served as a Richmond County commissioner from 1979 to 1982.

In October 2000, Mr. Hiers and another man were arrested by federal agents and charged with conspiring to possess 2.2 pounds of cocaine. Federal prosecutors later dismissed those charges “with prejudice,” which means the charges could be filed again, and “in the interest of justice,” authorities said at the time.

Police seek suspect in teen's kidnapping

Richmond County authorities are looking for a man in the weekend kidnapping of his ex-girlfriend and the theft of a motor vehicle.

Sherquin Marquis Jones, 26, is wanted in connection with the kidnapping of Chavera Broadwater, 18, on Sunday night, according to Lt. Jimmy Young

After an argument, Mr. Jones grabbed car keys from Michelle Cooper, hit Ms. Broadwater and dragged her to the car, Lt. Young said. The victim was able to jump from the car at Golden Camp and Deans Bridge roads, and the 1991 Buick Skylark was found abandoned at Henry Brigham Park.

Mr. Jones is wanted on charges of robbery, kidnapping and theft. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call the sheriff's office at 821-1080.

Man takes money from Augusta hotel

A west Augusta hotel clerk told police he was the victim of an armed robbery over the weekend.

Ralph Hall, a clerk at Scottish Inns, 1079 Stevens Creek Road, said a man entered at about 6 a.m. Sunday, made him lie on the floor and grabbed $200 from a cash register, said Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Glenn Rahn. The robber pointed a chrome pistol at him, Mr. Hall told police, and drove off in a white, 1980s-model Honda with a broken rear window.

BB gun incident gets teenagers arrested

Three juveniles accused of detaining two other youths with a gun were arrested Sunday, a Richmond County sheriff's investigator said.

The juveniles, two 15 years old and one 16, used a black BB gun to keep the other boys from leaving the corner of Bellemeade and Hardwick streets after an argument, Investigator Glenn Rahn said.

"They didn't realize it was a BB gun at the time," Investigator Rahn said.

The boys are charged with false imprisonment and were placed in the custody of their parents, Investigator Rahn said.

Man faces assault, sodomy charges

Columbia County authorities arrested an Augusta man Monday who they said beat and sexually assaulted a Martinez woman Friday night.

Tyrone Bernard Nelson, 28, turned himself in to his parole officer and was booked into the Columbia County Detention Center just after 12:30 p.m., Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said.

Police spent the weekend searching for Mr. Nelson after a woman living near Old Evans Road said he forced himself into her home, made her perform a sex act and beat her before stealing items from the home.

Mr. Nelson, of the 2000 block of Broad Street, was charged with two counts of aggravated sodomy, aggravated assault on a family member, false imprisonment, theft by taking and obstruction and interference with a 911 call, Capt. Morris said. Because Mr. Nelson was on parole at the time of the alleged incident, he is being held without bond, jail personnel said.

Shooting is reported in neighborhood

An Augusta teenager reported a walk-by shooting late Sunday at his home, which was occupied by an 8-year-old boy and five adults, according to the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Gerald Clifford, 18, told police that two men approached him at his Hicks Street home at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday. One of the men pulled a handgun and shot in his direction several times, a police report says.

The victim told police that he ran inside the house and that no one was injured. Officers found what appeared to be four bullet holes, including two that appeared to have been fired from inside the home, a report states. No arrests were made Monday.

Child is taken from mom after incident

A woman was arrested and her 4-year-old daughter was taken from her early Monday after the child was found yelling for help at Red Carpet Inn on Gordon Highway, according to police.

Medinah Ida Husamudeen, 23, was charged with contributing to the deprivation of a minor and was booked into the Richmond County Jail. The woman had a listed address of Spring Lake, N.C., and she told police she worked for a day care center.

A hotel visitor called police when she saw the 4-year-old running around just after midnight, a police report says. The girl told police her mother left with someone, and deputies found the woman on the opposite side of the building.

The Department of Family and Children Services took custody of the child.

Employees at Target are accused of theft

A Target stocker has been charged and two others are being sought in what police say was an organized scheme to steal items from the Augusta department store last week.

John Robert Gribanow, 22, of Hephzibah, was charged with felony theft by taking, and police have obtained similar warrants against Eugene Wheeler, 34, of Martinez, and Alexander Smith, 27, of Douglasville, Ga.

Other arrests are possible, said Richmond County sheriff's Lt. Tony Walden.

The Target workers are accused of taking small items during the night shift and putting them into an empty box for camping supplies. The employees taped up the box and planned to take it out of the store later, police said.

Store managers captured the employees' actions on video, a police report said.