Originally created 06/08/06

Burglar ransacks authority's office



The organization tasked with promoting a safe downtown faced blood stains and broken glass Wednesday morning.

Overnight, a burglar shattered a window and ransacked the Eighth Street offices of the Downtown Development Authority, apparently looking for money, officials said.

"I got here at 7:39 a.m., and glass was all over the ground and the blinds were broken and hanging off the door," administrative assistant Sherry Miller said.

The intruder ignored laptop computers and other assorted valuables and took only a bank card that had been canceled long ago.

The burglar apparently got cut on the glass and dripped blood over office papers and furniture. Though no usable fingerprints were found, the blood will be sent to the crime lab, said Robin Ashmore, investigator for the Richmond County Sheriff's Office. It could take more than six months for sample results, he said.

"I have a feeling it was probably some vagrant or homeless person," Investigator Ashmore said. "Several businesses on that block were burglarized in the past."

The authority moved into the offices in September. Executive Director Margaret Woodard said she isn't concerned about the incident.

"These kind of things are going to happen anywhere," she said.

It's no indication that downtown is unsafe, she said.

Even so, Ms. Woodard is using the break-in as evidence that Augusta could benefit from a business improvement district, or BID.

A BID, long sought by downtown economic development officials, is a partnership of property owners that voluntarily pay additional taxes in exchange for services such as added security.

Reach Tony Lombardo at (706) 823-3227 or tony.lombardo@augustachronicle.com.