A Martinez woman has been charged in the theft of more than $12,000 from the Lakeside High School Band Booster account.
The Columbia County Sheriff's Office arrested 43-year-old Sharon S. Nichols, former president of the booster club, on Oct. 1, charging her with theft by taking, which is a felony.
Nichols, of the 3700 block of Winchester Trail, was freed after posting $25,100 bond the same day.
Her arrest was the culmination of a more than monthlong investigation by the sheriff's office into the missing booster money.
Martinez resident Nancy Scherer, the current president of the Lakeside booster club, reported the missing money to authorities Sept. 1 after an audit by the Columbia County Board of Education.
A Martinez firefighter and a Martinez woman suffered minor injuries in a house fire Oct. 1.
Kristy Faraj was treated at Doctors Hospital for minor burns.
The firefighter, who wasn't identified, was treated at the scene for a minor burn to his hand, said Honey Shore, a spokeswoman for the Martinez Fire Department.
The fire, which occurred in the 200 block of Watervale Drive, was reported at 6 p.m. When firefighters arrived, the garage and kitchen were engulfed, but they were able to extinguish the fire within minutes.
Shore said the fire occurred after two children chased a cat in the garage and knocked over a gas can. The vapors from the gas were ignited by a pilot light from a nearby water heater, she said.
The following accounts were taken from reports filed with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.
A Martinez woman told police Oct. 5 that someone tried to extort $100,000 from her, threatening to harm her daughter otherwise.
The woman reported that someone called her at work and threatened to kidnap and kill her daughter if she did not take $100,000 in unmarked bills to a location on Furys Ferry Road, a sheriff's office report states. Sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said authorities are investigating the case.
Counterfeit money reported
A manager at a Grovetown restaurant reported a case in which counterfeit money was used to pay a bill Oct. 2.
The manager for Cracker Barrel, located at the 400 block of Park West Drive, said a woman tried to pay for her meal using a fake $50 bill. When the cashier told the woman the bill was fake, the manager said, the woman's husband paid using a real $100 bill and left the restaurant.
The manager said the couple told him they received the counterfeit bill at an unknown football game, possibly on Oct. 2 in Athens, Ga.
A vice president of an Evans realty business told police Oct. 4 that someone created several checks using the business's checking account information and then bought several thousand dollars worth of merchandise.
The executive, who works for Bill Beasley Homes Inc., located on North Belair Road, told officers that someone cashed 16 checks bearing the business's information at a Bank of America branch in Norcross, Ga., sometime between Oct. 1 and Oct. 4.
The vice president said the checks were cashed for a total of $14, 523. The case is considered identity fraud, according to a sheriff's office report.
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