Originally created 07/15/06

Across the area



Armed robbers get store's cash

Armed robbers stole cash and cigarettes from the Sprint Gas Station on Crosscreek Road in Hephzibah early Friday.

A store clerk told Richmond County Sheriff's deputies that she was stocking bread when two men wearing masks and carrying handguns walked into the store and demanded she empty the contents of the cash register into their blue duffel bag.

When she opened the register, one of the men grabbed the drawer and put it in the bag, while the other man stole three cartons of cigarettes.

Deputies searched the area but were unable to locate the robbers.

Candidate says leader is too new to state

Alvin Mason, a candidate for the District 4 Augusta Commission seat, says Commissioner Keith Brown has not lived in the district or the state long enough to hold the office.

"It is my opinion that we have a commissioner sitting in the seat illegally," Mr. Mason said Friday after learning that City Attorney Stephen Shepard had determined that residency requirements are the same for both elected and appointed commissioners.

Mr. Mason will hold a news conference at 10 a.m. Monday in front of Miss Justice behind the Municipal Building to show documentation that Mr. Brown does not meet the residency requirements.

Commissioners must have lived in their districts one year before the date of an election and in Georgia for two years. Mr. Mason said

Mr. Brown previously lived in South Carolina but said he has lived in District 4 for 18 months and in Georgia for almost three years.

Woman says she was kidnapped at gunpoint

Richmond County authorities are searching for a woman accused of kidnapping an Augusta woman Thursday afternoon.

Tonjala Freeney, 33, is accused of kidnapping Tasha Jones at gunpoint from a home in the 200 block of Brandywine Place at about 3:30 p.m. Thursday, according to a Richmond County Sheriff's Office report.

The report states that Ms. Freeney forced Ms. Jones into a car and then drove to North Augusta, where Ms. Jones escaped from the vehicle at the Circle K convenience store on U.S. Highway 1.

Ms. Freeney is also wanted on a parole violation.

Authorities say she could be driving a black 2003 Mercury Sable or a green Ford Taurus.

Anyone with information on Ms. Freeney is asked to call the Richmond County Sheriff's Office at (706) 821-1080.

Car thief eludes police after chase

A car thief led North Augusta Department of Public Safety officers on a two-mile chase Thursday afternoon.

According to a Department of Public Safety report, at about noon a man told officers he had just finished cleaning his 1999 Toyota 4-Runner sport utility vehicle when he stepped inside his home and heard tires screeching outside.

The man ran out the door and saw his SUV traveling south on West Avenue.

When North Augusta officers spotted the SUV at the intersection of Buena Vista Avenue and Burnside Avenue, they tried to pull it over, but the driver sped up.

The officers then chased the vehicle down Martintown Road and ended at the state line on the Fifth Street Bridge.

Richmond County Sheriff's deputies found the stolen vehicle on Telfair Street but were unable to catch the driver, who had jumped out of the SUV and ran down Colorado Street.

Police investigate killing of burnt man

Richmond County investigators interviewed several people Friday in their search for information about the slaying of Isaiah Randolph Selman, who was found set on fire Monday on Old McDuffie Road.

Richmond County sheriff's Lt. Scott Peebles said the motive behind Mr. Selman's killing was obviously a personal attack, and that investigators are following a lot of leads about what the killer's reasoning might have been.

An autopsy on Tuesday revealed that Mr. Selman died from asphyxiation.

A reward is being offered for information that leads to an arrest.

2-year-old is found roaming Blum Street

A 2-year-old girl was found walking by herself on the 500 block of Blum Street on Thursday afternoon.

According to a Richmond County Sheriff's Office report, a woman told deputies that she had seen the little girl on the street and was unable to locate her parents. When officers arrived, a man ran up to the scene and identified himself as the person responsible for the child. The man told deputies he lives with the little girl's mother and that he and the 2-year-old were watching television on the bed when he fell asleep. When he awoke from his nap, he said, the 2-year-old was not in the home.

Deputies contacted the Richmond County Department of Family and Children Services and turned the little girl over to her mother.

Cars parked at hotel are damaged by rocks

Several vehicles in a hotel parking lot were damaged Thursday when someone on top of the building threw rocks down on them.

Three Richmond County Sheriff's Office reports state that someone gained access to the roof of the Augusta Towers Hotel on Perimeter Parkway and dropped stones onto the vehicles below, causing dents and damaging windshields.

Augusta center gets state accreditation

The Augusta Technical College Early Childhood Care and Education Development Center received state accreditation and was named a "Center of Distinction."

Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning granted this accreditation through its Standards of Care program to only four centers in the area and 55 in the state.

There are 8,000 centers in Georgia.

Standard of Care is a voluntary program and is the state of Georgia's quality standard for child care learning centers. This program is designed to maximize learning opportunities for children and to raise the level of quality in center-based child care programs.

United Way wants help with school supplies

The United Way of Aiken County, along with health and human service organizations, will collect school supplies to give away.

The organization will be collecting supplies from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Wal-Mart stores at 2035 Whiskey Road, Aiken, and 1201 Knox Ave., North Augusta.

The items will be distributed in August at various locations.

The application deadline to receive supplies is Monday. Call (803) 648-8331 for more information.

- From staff reports