Originally created 11/23/04

Across the area



Someone takes holiday food

Someone stole $3,630 worth of frozen holiday food from an Augusta business between 7 p.m. Sunday and 7 a.m. Monday.

According to a Richmond County Sheriff's Office incident report, someone gained entry to a refrigerated semi-trailer behind HoneyBaked Ham Co. & Cafe, in the 3400 block of Wrightsboro Road, by cutting the latch around the rear door's lock.

Kenneth Smiley, an employee of the store, told deputies a partial list of the stolen food included 60 hams worth $3,000; 30 pumpkin pies worth $210; 30 pecan pies worth $210; and 30 cheesecakes worth $210, the report said.

Autopsy is complete on shot 16-year-old

An autopsy was completed Monday in Augusta on a 16-year-old Stapleton, Ga., boy who local and state authorities said was shot in the chest last weekend.

Jefferson County sheriff's Lt. Robert Chalker said a preliminary autopsy report from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's crime lab in Augusta showed that Jeffrey Mark Purvis died of a gunshot wound to the upper right area of his chest.

At about 4:35 p.m. Saturday, Jefferson County 911 dispatchers received a call that someone had been shot in the 8700 block of U.S. Highway 1 North in Louisville, Lt. Chalker said. The teen was later pronounced dead at Jefferson Hospital.

Gary Hughes, the assistant special agent in charge of the GBI's Thomson office, said teens involved in the incident told investigators that one of the guns - a .223-caliber hunting rifle - accidentally discharged, striking Jeffrey.

Agent Hughes and Lt. Chalker said no charges have been filed, nor have authorities ruled out foul play. They said the rifle will be sent to the GBI in Atlanta for testing.

School board OKs 2 Aiken County grants

The Aiken County school board approved two grants Monday night that will be used to purchase books and supplies.

The Aiken School District received a $1,000 grant from Wal-Mart for the English as a Second Language department. The grant will be used to purchase classroom supplies for teachers.

The board also approved a $1,500 grant for North Aiken Elementary School. The grant is sponsored by the American Association of University Women, and the money will be used to purchase books for the school library.

Official expects low turnout in court race

Voter turnout for today's runoff between Debra Bernes and Howard Mead for the Georgia Court of Appeals is expected to be less than 5 percent, said Lynn Bailey, the executive director of the Richmond County Board of Elections.

All polling sites in the county and the state are open, but they will have fewer machines and poll workers, Mrs. Bailey said.

Lincolnton man admits lying to receive loans

A Lincolnton, Ga., man who used another man's Social Security number to obtain loans totaling nearly $100,000 received the maximum sentence Monday - six months.

John Jenkins pleaded guilty to three counts of making false statements to a federally insured bank. Under the federal sentencing guidelines, he faced probation or as much as six months in jail.

U.S. District Judge Dudley H. Bowen Jr. sentenced him to the prison time followed by three years' probation and a $2,500 fine. Mr. Jenkins was to make restitution for the $98,000 in loans Monday.

Company enters guilty plea over pollutant

A guilty plea to negligent discharge of a pollutant was entered Monday for a south Augusta corporation.

The plea to the misdemeanor offense was entered in U.S. District Court on behalf of Griffin Industries, which operates a rendering plant in East Dublin, Ga. By the plea, the company acknowledges the pollutant was discharged illegally Dec. 31, 1998, and Jan. 1, 1999.

Federal prosecutors indicted Griffin Industries and five employees in October 2003, accusing them of discharging pollutants from September 1999 to July 2003 into the Bay Branch Creek, a tributary of the Oconee River. A trial was set to begin in federal court next Monday.

U.S. District Judge Dudley H. Bowen Jr. accepted the plea and imposed a $50,000 fine.

Teacher says Internet site contained threat

Police said Monday they are investigating a case in which an Evans High School teacher reported a threatening Web site that he said included a photo of him.

The teacher told police that on Thursday he heard his likeness was being used on an inappropriate Web site. The teacher said he visited the site and discovered that a picture of him had been superimposed onto an image of Adolf Hitler, a Columbia County sheriff's report says. On the same Web page, there was a list of celebrities and the statement "People to be viscously murdered."

When police visited the site, the image of the teacher had been removed, sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said.

Woman drives into cell phone business

An Augusta woman accidentally rammed her car through the glass front of a cellular phone store in south Augusta on Monday, officials said.

Richmond County sheriff's Sgt. Lonnie Moore said Carolyn L. Hall attempted to park a Saturn Ion in front of NCS Wireless in the Southpointe Plaza shopping center in the 3200 block of Deans Bridge Road. Instead of braking, Ms. Hall accidentally hit the accelerator and drove into the store, Sgt. Moore said.

No citations were filed, the sergeant said.

Boxcars fall off track at Augusta rail yard

Nine boxcars came off a railroad track at an Augusta CSX Transportation Inc. rail yard Monday morning, officials said.

Emergency officials were called to the yard, off Tuggle Street near Olive Road, shortly before 9 a.m., according to Richmond County dispatch.

Meg Scheu, a CSX spokeswoman in Jacksonville, Fla., said it will take a few days to determine the cause of the derailment.

No one was injured, said Chief Howard Willis, the director of the Augusta-Richmond County Emergency Management Agency.

Woman says friend of family raped her

Richmond County sheriff's investigators are looking into a report that a 30-year-old woman was raped last weekend, records show.

The woman told deputies that between 1 and 3 a.m. Sunday, a family friend rented a room for her at a Washington Road motel.

After she took a shower, the man forced himself on her, the report says.