Originally created 12/16/04

Across the area



Business gives land for school

An Aiken business has donated 85 acres in Graniteville for a new elementary school.

The new Byrd Elementary school will be built on land donated by Aiken businessman Weldon Wyatt and Sage Mill Residential Ltd. The land is off Bettis Academy Road and include s enough space for a new middle school.

The Aiken County school board had already voted to build a new Byrd Elementary rather than try to repair the 50-year-old buildings at the present site.

The board voted to accept the donation at its meeting Tuesday night.

Aiken home invasion leads to shooting

Two masked men invaded an Aiken home Wednesday night and shot one of the people inside, police said.

Sgt. Charles Barranco, of the Aiken Department of Public Safety, said the men forced their way into the home in the 700 block of Sommers Avenue just after 9 p.m.

A fight ensued, and a person inside the house was shot. After the shooting, the two men fled and were being sought by authorities.

Sgt. Barranco said police were not releasing the name or condition of the victim Wednesday night.

Woman is accused of stealing from employer

Richmond County sheriff's investigators have arrested a woman who they said took more than $12,000 from her employer, officials said Wednesday.

Lawanda Michele Harris, 30, surrendered to authorities Wednesday on a charge of felony theft by taking, sheriff's Investigator Anita Hopson said.

Officials found that Ms. Harris, who was employed with Sears Contract Sales on Regency Boulevard, had taken $12,463 from her employer by creating fraudulent credits more than 50 times, Investigator Hopson said.

Investigator Hopson said that the money was credited to Ms. Harris' Visa account and that she had been employed with the company from October 2002 until last month.

Historical society holds ribbon-cutting

Historic Augusta Inc. celebrated its move into its new headquarters at the Joseph Rucker Lamar Boyhood Home on Wednesday with a ribbon-cutting and the unveiling of a historical marker.

The Lamar Home is on Seventh Street, next door to the Boyhood Home of Woodrow Wilson. Lamar, who became an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and Wilson, the nation's 28th president, were boyhood friends.

Historic Augusta, which moved its headquarters from 10th Street, has overseen restoration of both the homes.

Man gets prison term for assault, carjacking

An Augusta man who hijacked a woman's car and fired gunshots at her boyfriend pleaded guilty Wednesday.

Travis Cratic, 23, was sentenced in Richmond County Superior Court to 15 years in prison followed by five years on probation for aggravated assault and hijacking a motor vehicle.

On March 20, a woman at the Riverwalk Marina found Mr. Cratic hiding with a gun in the trunk of her car. When her boyfriend tried to chase him, Mr. Cratic fired several shots at the man.

At the time of the incident, Mr. Cratic was on probation for a November 2001 guilty plea to theft in Richmond County.

Burglary suspect surrenders to police

Richmond County sheriff's deputies have arrested a man who they say intruded into a west Augusta apartment this week and might be responsible for other burglaries , officials said Wednesday.

Sheriff's Lt. C.A. Tony Walden said Donald M. Sher­man surrendered Wednesday morning to authorities on a charge of felony burglary.

Mr. Sherman enter ed a unit at West Eagle Green apartments Monday at 9 p.m., officials said, and they said he might also be responsible for other apartment burglaries during the past few months.

Santa Blood Drive is being held today

Shepeard Community Blood Center will hold its annual Santa Blood Drive today at its two Augusta-area locations.

Donors will receive a free Santa T-shirt and a free cholesterol screening, a news release says. The centers, which will be open until 7 p.m., are at 1533 Wrightsboro Road in Augusta and at 112 Davis Road in Martinez.

For more information, call 737-4551.

Woman says money was stolen in scheme

An Augusta woman said a woman tricked her into thinking she worked for a bank and stole $9,000 of her savings, a Richmond County sheriff's report states.

The 67-year-old victim told police the woman, who identified herself as Tracy, told her she worked for the bank and needed to examine the serial numbers on her money. The victim said she went to the SunTrust bank at 1631 Gordon Highway with the woman and withdrew $9,000. The woman quickly took the money and left , the report said.

Girl says she was raped by man in home

A 14-year-old Hephzibah girl said Wednesday that a man raped her in her home in the Town and Country subdivision Dec. 3, a Richmond County sheriff's report states.

The girl told police she was taking out the trash at about 9 p.m. when a man she didn't know walked up and grabbed her.

She said she ran into her house and the man followed her inside and raped her, the report says.

The girl told police she didn't immediately file a report because she was scared.

Neighbor is stealing water, woman claims

A 27-year-old Augusta woman said Wednesday that someone has been stealing her water by running a garden hose from a outdoor tap into a neighbor's house, a Richmond County sheriff's report states.

According to the report, Kimberly Mitchell , of the 2500 block of Miles Street , noticed higher-than-usual water bills and asked the utilities department to investigate.

The department told her there was a garden hose running from her house into a neighbor's window.

The report says the water company is investigating how much water m ight have been taken.