Originally created 11/04/04

Across the area



Jail mold study is approved

Augusta commissioners voted Wednesday to spend $22,000 to pursue further study of the mold problem at the Joint Law Enforcement Center.

Years of leaks in the roof, exterior facade and pipes have incubated moisture-loving molds at the Fourth Street jail. The severity of the problem came to light when a contractor hired to work on the administrative wing removed part of an exterior wall and found rusted wall studs and extensive mold.

The preliminary estimate for renovating the jail, stopping the leaks and removing the mold is $9.5 million.

Police make 2 arrests in armed robbery

Police arrested two people Wednesday in connection with an armed robbery last month in Augusta.

Brandon Keith Bland, 16, and Jessie Lee Blake Jr., 27, were charged with armed robbery and taken to the Richmond County jail.

According to Richmond County sheriff's reports, Jerome Dent, 51, of Hephzibah, told police that on Oct. 19, five men hit and kicked him repeatedly and stole a $20 bill from his pants pocket while he was in the 3500 block of Byron Place.

Man accused of taking money from briefcase

Police arrested a 32-year-old Augusta man Wednesday on felony burglary charges.

Donnell DeCarlos Dunaway was charged with one count of burglary and taken to the Richmond County jail.

According to a Richmond County sheriff's report, a man from Cleveland, Tenn., said someone broke into his room at the Budget Inn on Broad Street on Monday and took $110 from his briefcase.

Police say man used hammer in attack

A 38-year-old Hephzibah man who police say assaulted an acquaintance with a hammer was taken into custody Wednesday.

Billy Fred Johns Jr., of the 1200 block of Brown Road, is charged with one count of aggravated assault, according to Richmond County jail records.

According to an incident report, Billy Ray Hendrix, 42, of Augusta, told police that he was in the front seat of his friend's car Tuesday afternoon when Mr. Johns reached from the back and hit him with a hammer a number of times.

Sheriff's Lt. Jimmy Young said Mr. Hendrix's nose and middle finger were broken and he had open cuts to the back of his head.

According to a Medical College of Georgia Hospital spokeswoman, he was treated at MCG Tuesday and released.

Mr. Johns apparently became angry at Mr. Hendrix over money he owed Mr. Johns, Lt. Young said.

Many airport workers will get a pay raise

Augusta commissioners approved 7 percent pay increases for most Augusta Regional Airport employees Wednesday.

Commissioners Tommy Boyles and Barbara Sims voted against the raises, and Commissioners Bobby Hankerson and Marion Williams abstained.

Mr. Williams said the raises would send a bad message to city employees, who are not expected to receive increases next year.

A 2001 airport study found that salaries for most airport positions were not competitive with those at comparable airports in the Southeast. Annual management salaries for all positions except one are $10,000 to $20,000 below those of comparable airports.

The pay increases and benefits scheduled to go into effect in January total $123,242.

Man charged with theft of gun, lottery tickets

Richmond County sheriff's investigators said Wednesday that they have charged a man with possessing hundreds of stolen Georgia Lottery tickets and a stolen firearm.

Charles Maxwell Tyler, 22, of Hephzibah, was charged Tuesday with theft by receiving stolen property and theft by receiving a stolen firearm, said sheriff's Sgt. Ken Rogers.

The sergeant said Mr. Tyler had a .40-caliber semiautomatic weapon, more than 400 intact scratch-off lottery tickets and more than 100 tickets that had been scratched through.

Man, 19, arrested in October carjacking

Richmond County sheriff's deputies made another arrest Wednesday in an October carjacking in downtown Augusta, records show.

Antonio Dwayne Gathers, 19, of Bleakley Street, was charged with armed robbery and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute Wednesday afternoon, Richmond County jail records show.

According to police reports, on Oct. 18, a 30-year-old Augusta man told police he was carjacked at gunpoint near Sixth and Reynolds streets.

The report says the man told authorities that five juveniles in a Ford Tempo approached and demanded his black 2001 Hyundai XG300L.

Two days later, deputies arrested Tarrance Douglas Morgan, 15, of the 2500 block of Rhodes Drive, and Ronnie Dean Brown, 16, of the 200 block of East Telfair Street, in connection with the carjacking.

Police investigate motel room fire

Richmond County authorities investigated Wednesday the arson of a south Augusta motel room, a police report states.

The report says the fire occurred in a room at the Western Motel in the 3000 block of Deans Bridge Road.

A motel employee told deputies that at 11 a.m., he went to clean a room after its occupant checked out and found that the bed had been set on fire.

The report says that police found a torn, burned telephone book underneath the bed and that the bottom of the box springs and the underside of the mattress were burned.

Restaurant reports stolen equipment

Richmond County sheriff's deputies investigated the burglary of a south Augusta restaurant Wednesday, a police report states.

The report states that between 8:30 p.m. Tuesday and noon Wednesday, someone pried open the side door to Crabby Abby's in the 2500 block of Peach Orchard Road.

The intruder took more than $4,000 worth of construction equipment, including several cordless drills, saws, a paint sprayer and a nail gun.