Copper thieves escape deputy at school site
A Columbia County sheriff’s deputy spotted thieves leaving the new Columbia Middle School construction site early Monday with rolls of stolen copper.
The deputy was patrolling the area at 2016 William Few Parkway at about 4:30 a.m. when he saw a Ford Explorer parked on the property. While investigating the Explorer, a large, white truck sped out of the parking lot with no lights on. The deputy caught up to the truck, which was left on the shoulder of William Few Parkway. It was empty and the passenger door and rear cargo door were open, revealing numerous rolls of copper inside.
Deputies were not able to find the occupants of the truck.
Someone broke into a storage container on the school property and stole the copper. Two rolls were found in the driveway, but were damaged from falling out of the back of the truck. The rolls found on the ground and in the truck didn’t add up to the amount of copper that should have been in the container after a recent shipment.
The truck was leased by American Ramp Transit Inc. to deliver merchandise for McCorkle Nurseries. The keys were in the ignition. The truck was stolen from the Ryder repair shop on CDP Industrial Boulevard. The fence around the Ryder shop was cut when the truck was stolen.
At about 9:30 a.m., a woman said she found numerous metal racks in the driveway of her Baker Place Lane home that weren’t there the previous night. A McCorkle employee confirmed the racks were in the back of the truck when she dropped it off at Ryder.
Gunshots fired at hotel party
Someone fired a gun in the parking lot of a Martinez hotel early Tuesday morning.
A man called deputies just before 2 a.m. because he heard multiple gunshots come from the parking lot of the Econo Lodge at 4090 Jimmie Dyess Parkway. The man, who was walking nearby, said he then heard a commotion, but could not see anyone or hear what was being said.
Several people told deputies about a party in a room at the hotel. A woman said she rented the room to have a New Year’s Eve party with some friends.
During the party, she also heard the gunshots, but didn’t know who fired them or why, she said.
A party-goer said he also heard the gunshots and told everyone in the room to get down. He said he didn’t know who fired the shots.
Deputies found nine .380 caliber shell casings in the hotel parking lot.
Employee falls asleep in shopping cart, arrested
A Walmart employee was arrested Tuesday after a store manager found him sleeping in a shopping cart.
Christopher Mark Welch, 28, of Waverly Drive in Augusta, was charged with public drunkenness.
A manager of the store at 4469 Washington Road in Evans told deputies that Welch, an employee, was sleeping in a shopping cart inside the store at about 8 p.m. After several attempts, the manager woke Welch, who staggered outside. The manager called authorities when Welch got into a truck in the parking lot.
A deputy found Welch sitting in his truck and he smelled of alcohol. Welch admitted drinking a pint of vodka about an hour before. Welch became uncooperative and cursed at the deputy when asked for the name and contact information of someone who could pick him up.
He tested positive for alcohol and was taken to the Columbia County Detention Center. Welch was released Wednesday after posting a $500 bond, according to jailers.
Bottle breaks window
A man called deputies Monday evening after someone threw a beer bottle at his truck.
The 25-year-old man said he was driving north on Louisville Road near Columbia Road at about 7 p.m. As he passed a stand of trees, the man said something hit and broke his passenger window. He pulled over, but didn’t see anyone. A deputy found a large hole in the window and a broken beer bottle on the edge of the road nearby.
Fireworks damage mailbox
A Martinez woman told authorities Tuesday that someone blew up her mailbox.
The 32-year-old woman said that sometime between Dec. 22 and Tuesday, someone put fireworks inside her mailbox. The fireworks exploded, damaging her mailbox.