The following accounts were taken from Columbia County Sheriff’s Office incident reports:
Home invasion is reported in Martinez
A 20-year-old Martinez man said four men forced their way into the apartment he shared with others on Saturday night.
The man said that about 11:30 p.m., someone tried to open the door to the Applecross apartment. The intruders were stopped by the chain lock on the door. Unaware of who was trying to come in, one of the men opened the door.
Four men dressed in black and wearing ski masks entered the apartment brandishing handguns. The intruders demanded the men’s cellphones and money. They turned over their valuables and the intruders left without harming anyone.
A deputy saw a man changing his shirt at the nearby Lexus dealership. The man said he was coming out of a nearby apartment and saw four men run away wearing masks and carrying handguns. The man said he ran away out of fear.
Harlem man’s vehicle stolen; suspect caught
An Augusta man was arrested early Friday after a man said he stole a truck from his property.
Brice Williams, 24, of Amsterdam Drive in Augusta, was charged with theft by taking.
A 69-year-old Harlem man called authorities about 4:30 a.m. to report that someone stole a Chevrolet truck from his property on Wrightsboro Road.
He said a man, later identified as Williams, rang his doorbell and asked to use the phone, even though he had a cellphone in his hand.
The man said he didn’t have a land line.
Williams then asked the way to Augusta. When the man said he was going the wrong way, Williams ran away toward the road.
The man said he got dressed and went back to the door and saw Williams looking through cars at his father’s house.
He then saw Williams leave in his father’s truck.
The man called authorities, who found Williams in the truck headed east on the traffic circle at Pumpkin Center.
The deputy followed the truck into the parking lot of the Pumpkin Center store.
He said a man later identified as Williams pulled the truck between two pumps and got out with a gas can and bought gas.
The deputy approached Williams as he came out of the store. Asked whether the truck was his, Williams said, “No, I ran out of gas up the road and didn’t know where I was. I knocked on this guy’s door, but he wouldn’t let me in. I found this truck in the yard and drove it up here to get gas. I was going to take it back.”
The deputy smelled alcohol on Williams’ breath.
Deputies took Williams back to the man’s property, where they found a 2006 Saturn Vue, owned by Williams’ girlfriend, in the road. They also found the man’s Nissan truck had been driven from the backyard and into a ditch in front of the house. The man said both vehicles were unlocked with the keys inside.
Williams was released from the Columbia County Detention Center on Sunday after posting a $10,200 bond, according to jailers.
Tech-savvy thieves take more than $700 from Martinez Wal-Mart
A group of technology-savvy people stole more than $700 worth of merchandise from the Martinez Wal-Mart location last week.
On Friday, the loss-prevention employee of the store on Bobby Jones Expressway said two groups of people tampered with self-checkout registers to make it look as though they had paid for merchandise.
The employee said four people went to the self-checkout registers and split up at two side-by-side registers. A woman paid for a transaction with cash.
The man she was with used what appeared to be an ordinary cellphone and swiped a card through the machine near the end of the transaction.
The man pressed buttons on the phone, which caused the register to return the cash put into the machine.
Surveillance video footage showed the woman put money into the register, the man press buttons on his phone before the money was returned.
The employee said a second, nearly identical, transaction occurred at a neighboring register next around the same time.
The people then went straight to customer service with their receipts and returned all the merchandise for cash totaling $726.09.
The four people were seen leaving the store in a white Dodge Magnum station wagon with custom wheels.
Stolen vehicle found
in Richmond County
A vehicle belonging to a man who left it at a Martinez paint shop was found Sunday morning in Richmond County.
A Richmond County sheriff’s deputy found the car without wheels sitting on concrete blocks on Windsor Spring Road early Sunday. Columbia County authorities contacted the owner, who said he left the vehicle at Maaco on Martinez Boulevard for repairs.
The Maaco owner said he last saw the vehicle locked in the fenced business lot Saturday.
The owner went to the business and found the padlock to the gate cut and the vehicle missing. Nothing else was disturbed and the car key was still inside the business.
The only damaged to the vehicle was to the steering column and the missing tires.