Harlem police chief resigns after shoplifting incident
The Harlem Department of Public Safety director resigned Friday after he was caught shoplifting from the Evans Wal-Mart, authorities said.
Employees watched Charles Jerry Baldwin, 47, of Trippe Street, try to leave the store at 4 p.m. Thursday with less than $13 worth of items concealed in his pockets, Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said.
Baldwin, who was hired as police chief in 2001, had chewing gum, tartar sauce, Crystal Light drink mix and jelly in his pockets, but he paid for other items in his shopping cart. When he left the store, at 4469 Washington Road, loss-prevention employees stopped him and took him to the office, Morris said.
Baldwin handed over the stolen items. Morris said Baldwin told the loss prevention officer, "I did have the money. It was just a stupid thing I did."
Wal-Mart declined to press charges. Morris said the store's policy is not to prosecute shoplifting when the value of the items taken is less than $25. Baldwin agreed not to return to the store.
Assistant Chief Chuck Meadows will serve as interim director, Harlem City Manager Jean Dove said. Officials will soon start the applications to hire another director, she said.
The following accounts were taken from reports from the Columbia County Sheriff's Office. More reports are available at www.columbiacountyso.org:
Man charged with shooting toward construction site
A Grovetown man was charged Thursday with shooting pellets at workers on a construction site and firing several rounds from a rifle.
Joseph Holland Daniels, 38, of the 4800 block of Old Belair Lane, was charged with aggravated assault and criminal damage to property. He was released Thursday from Columbia County Detention Center after posting a $27,700 bond, according to jail records.
Construction workers told police that about 7:45 a.m. they heard "pings" against the trucks they were in. They said they saw Daniels crouched behind a shed with a pellet gun.
The owner of the trucks said that after he arrived about 9 a.m., Daniels came outside of his home, yelled at him and the workers, fired two rounds from a rifle and went back inside.
When police arrived, Daniels admitted firing several rounds from the pellet gun toward the trucks and firing rounds from an SKS rifle at or near the workers and trucks.
Daniels' mother, who owns the home, gave consent to police to search it. Police found a pellet gun and an SKS rifle, which Daniels said was not the one he fired. Police searched Daniels' mother's residence and found the SKS he did fire.
Gasoline, mountain bike stolen from truck at home
A Grovetown man told police Friday that someone stole his mountain bike and gasoline from his truck.
The 32-year-old resident said that between 9 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. Friday, someone stole the $380 bicycle from the back of his truck, which was in his driveway. The thief had siphoned 10 gallons of gas from the truck.
Burglars cut holes in walls to get into two businesses
The owner of a Martinez title pawn business discovered Saturday that someone had broken into the business by cutting a hole in the wall from a neighboring business.
The owner said that between 7 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday, someone had stolen $200 from a desk drawer at Express Cash, 3837 Washington Road.
The hole led to the inside of Morris Opticians, 3839 Washington Road. Burglars had cut hole in the wallboard between the two businesses. Several eyeglass frames, worth about $500, had been stolen from a display case near the front door of Morris Opticians.
Police found a hole in the outside wall of the opticians' shop, and a pile of bricks under it near the rear door of the business.
Man takes carpet steamers from store, drives away
A Kohl's employee called police Thursday after he saw a man steal two steam cleaners and flee through a fire exit door.
Just after 2 p.m., the employee saw a man load two Rug Doctor carpet cleaning machines, priced at $799 each, into a shopping cart at the store, 4227 Washington Road in Evans. The thief then pushed open a fire exit door at the back of the store and loaded the machines into a gold Cadillac Sedan DeVille and drove away.
The car's right front fender had been damaged. Workers at the nearby Target store told police they have surveillance footage of the car speeding away. The employee told police he would alert other area Kohl's stores to be alert for someone trying to return the machines.
Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue Activity Report for the week of Jan. 18-24:
Structure fires, three; wood/brush/grass fires, two; controlled/ unauthorized burns, six; other fire, one; activated fire alarms, seven; medical incidents, 32; vehicle accidents, seven; investigate various incidents, four; assist residents, four; and other, one.
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