Businessman shoots himself during chase

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Augusta businessman Jay Weinberger died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after a police chase early Saturday morning, the Putnam County sheriff said.

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A sign at the Lake Oconee location states the store is closed because of a family emergency.  Morris News Service
Morris News Service
A sign at the Lake Oconee location states the store is closed because of a family emergency.

Mr. Weinberger, 47, was towing a trailer with an expired tag when a deputy began pursuing him between 4 and 4:30 a.m. on Harmony Road in north Putnam County, said Sheriff Howard Sills.

He said the deputy turned on his blue lights, but Mr. Weinberger drove for about three miles before stopping. When the deputy approached, the sheriff said, Mr. Weinberger took off at a high rate of speed. After a short distance, the vehicle left the road. The deputy found Mr. Weinberger dead of a single gunshot wound.

"This is really bizarre," Sheriff Sills said.

The sheriff said the trailer, which he described as a concession trailer, was stolen.

A lock to the trailer and a bolt cutter were found in Mr. Weinberger's vehicle. The trailer had been parked behind the Floor Source in Eatonton, Ga., and was titled to the owner of that business, Sheriff Sills said.

"The owner said he did not know Mr. Weinberger, and he did not give anyone the consent to move the trailer," which he said was worth more than $7,000.

"We have recovered at least one more stolen trailer at his warehouse in Augusta," Sheriff Sills said.

The Weinberger family owns Weinberger's Furniture and Mattress Showcase, with stores on Washington Road and in Greensboro, Ga.

Richmond County sheriff's deputies impounded two trailers in the parking lot of the Weinberger's Furniture warehouse on Reynolds Industrial Drive on Saturday afternoon. Sheriff Sills confirmed that one of those trailers was stolen from a Putnam County business in July.

"Those types of trailers are the highest theft items in the state of Georgia," he said. "I know it seems strange, but this kind of theft is as common as the rain."

Richmond County sheriff's Lt. Scott Peebles said Saturday that the sheriff's office assisted with the investigation, but he said he could not comment.

"We're referring everything to Putnam County," he said.

Mr. Weinberger was active in the Augusta Jewish Community Center, said Leah Ronen, executive director of the community center and the Augusta Jewish Federation. He owned a home in the Barrington subdivision off Stevens Creek Road in Martinez and lived there with his wife, Pam, and two children, Saul and Hannah, Ms. Ronen said.

"He was a strong supporter of the center and the Augusta Jewish Federation," she said.

Don Bailey, president of The Augusta Chronicle and former chairman of the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, also praised Mr. Weinberger.

"Jay was very well respected in the business community. He'll be missed," he said.

Columbia County Bureau reporter Jenna Martin contributed to this story.

Reach Bill Norton or Stephanie Toone at (706) 724-0851.

JAY WEINBERGER

AGE: 47

FAMILY: Wife, Pam; Son, Saul; Daughter, Hannah

PROFESSION: Co-owner of Weinberger Furniture and Mattress Showcase

EDUCATION: 1980 Evans High School graduate, 1984 University of Georgia graduate

Comments (50) Add comment
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T.Cartledge
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T.Cartledge 09/06/09 - 02:21 am
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WOW!! That's unbelievable!!

WOW!! That's unbelievable!!

onlyme
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onlyme 09/06/09 - 02:33 am
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It is unbelievable, and very

It is unbelievable, and very sad. God bless.

jshiver15
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jshiver15 09/06/09 - 03:10 am
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. .

. .

scott-hudson
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scott-hudson 09/06/09 - 03:25 am
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So terribly sad...

So terribly sad...

CorporalGripweed
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CorporalGripweed 09/06/09 - 04:04 am
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Wow!! What a shocker.

Wow!! What a shocker.

dickworth1
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dickworth1 09/06/09 - 05:16 am
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This doesn't make any sense,
Unpublished

This doesn't make any sense, may God have mercy on your
soul.

Jsynapse
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Jsynapse 09/06/09 - 05:48 am
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He was not stealing these

He was not stealing these trailers and hiding them at the business alone. This is the tip of the iceberg and others have to be involved. The two Weinberger houses in Barrington and the businesses should be thoroughly searched for evidence of other criminal activity exactly as is always done when suspects are caught committing crimes. Finding at least one other stolen trailer at a business building demands complete searches.

juantez
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juantez 09/06/09 - 05:50 am
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Why do God need to have mercy
Unpublished

Why do God need to have mercy on his soul, he's just like any other run of the mill criminal. He got caught doing wrong and took the easy way out by taking his own life. He is a criminal, I do not feel sorry for him. And I ask why is this a SHOCKER? please explain. At the rate things are going in the world today there is not at lot that will surprise me about what a person will do. Just my opinion.

SoBored
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SoBored 09/06/09 - 06:24 am
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It is devastating losing a

It is devastating losing a father, husband and friend regardless of the circumstances. My heart goes out to his famliy. But you have to wonder... Did his wife not question him when he left the house at 3am or so...?? Did his business partner and brother not ask "Whose trailers are these and why are they parked here?" Did they have such massive financial difficulties that he was trying to find a way to get more income? If so, Im pretty sure the entire family and business partners knew.

This tragedy is a stigma that will affect his children and family when the truth does come out and I feel sorry for them, especially in a town where everyone knows each other and there is no anonimity (sp). Their business will also suffer from the stigma attached to what he has done.

Dixieman
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Dixieman 09/06/09 - 06:36 am
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Shame. Mystery. RIP.

Shame. Mystery. RIP. Wheels within wheels...respectable businessmen are not out towing stolen trailers at 0400 with another stolen trailer squirreled away in his warehouse. The truth will be interesting.

Jsynapse
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Jsynapse 09/06/09 - 06:41 am
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"wonder what C.W.'s Barbeque

"wonder what C.W.'s Barbeque and catering has to do with this. They have been in business together and one of the Weinbergers was there just the other day. Concession trailers? hmm..."
Posted by aug1736 on Sun Sep 6, 2009 1:25 AM"

Jsynapse
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Jsynapse 09/06/09 - 06:46 am
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I’m hoping some state or

I’m hoping some state or federal agency takes over the investigation. The Weinbergers have a business in Richmond County, another in Greene County and live in Columbia County where Julie Weinberger works for the Columbia County Judicial system as an investigator. This is going to be complicated. What was their involvement with the BBQ business that used these type trailers as the other poster said? Another point to keep in mind is that he was armed during the commission of this crime.

mgroothand
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mgroothand 09/06/09 - 06:52 am
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There has to be much more to

There has to be much more to this story and no one should jump to any conclusions. I don't know how orthodox Mr. Weinberger was but Jewish law strictly forbids suicide.

hardtobelieve
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hardtobelieve 09/06/09 - 06:55 am
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My condolesences to the

My condolesences to the family. A loss is a loss, no matter what the circumstances.

Brad Owens
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Brad Owens 09/06/09 - 06:58 am
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Shocking. Never would have

Shocking. Never would have expected anything like this from Mr. W. I hope there is more to this than petty theft causing a man to take his own life. Sad, very sad. I wish his family well under such terrible circumstances.

xanadu
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xanadu 09/06/09 - 07:10 am
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Gee, I knew the economy was

Gee, I knew the economy was bad and everything, but I didn't think it was so bad that the owner of a furniture business has to go out and steal his merchandise in order to keep the doors open. We bought stuff from these people -- now I'm wondering if what we have was stolen goods.
In regards to his death -- I feel really bad for his family, but this was a totally selfish act on his part. All he was thinking about was himself and avoiding owning up to what he did and apparently has done in the past. obviously, he didn't think about the family he was leaving behind to clean up his mess and his name. Hope he had a good relationship with his higher power.

1941
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1941 09/06/09 - 07:12 am
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Do jewish law ''strictly

Do jewish law ''strictly forbids theft''? Madoff? The biggest thiefs are of other races, they just blame it on other races. ''Not Jump to conclusion''? ''No matter what the circumstancecs''?Lets call it what it is,he was a thief, and could not deal with the embarresment.So he took the easy way out.

justus4
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justus4 09/06/09 - 07:15 am
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This guy was towing a stolen
Unpublished

This guy was towing a stolen trailer, cops put the blue lights on him, and he becomes judge, jury, and carries out the sentence. Why? Are these all the facts? What knowledge required such a high-degree of punishment if made known? How will the story change in the next days? Something does not fit...more answers needed.

JohnQPublic
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JohnQPublic 09/06/09 - 07:20 am
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Too sad. People do crazy

Too sad. People do crazy things over money. The recession and loss of money and things is nothing compared to what his family must be feeling. It's too bad he felt so backed into a corner.

Boston93
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Boston93 09/06/09 - 07:31 am
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To:Brad Owens...I agree with

To:Brad Owens...I agree with you. The truth must be achieved before everyone goes overboard. More than a trailer being stolen herre. God Bless him and his family.

windsor41
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windsor41 09/06/09 - 07:40 am
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i bet if they dig more into

i bet if they dig more into the story you will find some drugs.for a family that rich to steal trailers only, don't make me laugh.

southernguy08
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southernguy08 09/06/09 - 07:40 am
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To Mr. Weinberger's family,
Unpublished

To Mr. Weinberger's family, may God give you strength and comfort in this time of grief. SHALOM.

Tigger
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Tigger 09/06/09 - 08:06 am
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I Feel really bad for the

I Feel really bad for the Family.
But I wonder what Janet has to say about this
since she made my life a leaving hell, when I only
wanted to be apart of my daughters life , After my divorce.
She tried to dig up all kinds of mess. To keep me from getting
joint custody.
Remember no one is above reproach, not matter how rich, or
poor.
Yes, the authorities do need to dig deeper. There is more to
this. Drugs??????

NANF
4
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NANF 09/06/09 - 08:07 am
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So sad. God Bless the

So sad. God Bless the family.

PoliticallNcorrect
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PoliticallNcorrect 09/06/09 - 08:09 am
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One good thing about a thief.

One good thing about a thief. NO shortage of work...lol

Tigger
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Tigger 09/06/09 - 08:13 am
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Oh , but I do pray that God

Oh , but I do pray that God bless is wife and children.
Mother and father. For the are indeed suffering. I dont wish that
on anyone.
May Yahweh forever be with them.

Doctor j. Dudleydoright
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Doctor j. Dudleydoright 09/06/09 - 08:16 am
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1. The Furniture business

1. The Furniture business must be real slow. 2. You are an idiot to try to escape from the police 3. Concession trailers are very expensive. I think thry should check his blood chemistry.

JohnQPublic
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JohnQPublic 09/06/09 - 08:19 am
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Sorry Tigger.

Sorry Tigger.

peace4784
117
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peace4784 09/06/09 - 08:37 am
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He was human with a good side
Unpublished

He was human with a good side and a bad side. Why should anyone be shocked. Like all of us he was a mere mortal. No one is above committing evil. No one is as righteous as they appear to be. Love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.

peace4784
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peace4784 09/06/09 - 08:40 am
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Where was God before he
Unpublished

Where was God before he pulled the trigger. Why look to God after the fact. Stop fooling yourselves. God only exist in religious books. Time to accept the fact we are on our own.

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