Bookkeeper charged with theft by taking
A bookkeeper at a Martinez custom-vehicle business was arrested Friday.
Joy Sandlin Mercer, of the 4500 block of Swan Drive in Evans, was a bookkeeper at Trucks & Moore on Bobby Jones Expressway for about two years. She was charged with felony theft by taking.
"To what extent is unknown," said Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris. "It'll take a few days for us to determine the exact amount."
Larry Moore, the owner of the business, discovered the thefts and reported Mercer to authorities.
Mercer, 40, was released Friday evening from the Columbia County Detention Center on a $2,600 bond, Morris said.
The following accounts were taken from reports from the Columbia County Sheriff's Office. Additional reports are available at www.columbiacountyso.org:
Man sees gas thief
The owner of Medi-Home Care at 4314 Belair Frontage Road, said that he found someone attempting to steal gas from a Dodge van just before 10:30 a.m., Sunday at the business. The man said he approached the thief, who got into a Chevrolet truck and left heading east toward Wheeler Road.
Police found a large quantity of fuel on the ground and a yellow gas can beneath the van. The thief punched a hole in the gas tank and was allowing the gasoline to drip into the can. Firefighters also were called to clean up the fuel spill.
Auto thefts stopped
Police responded Friday to a Martinez home, where the resident reported a suspicious vehicle parked outside.
The vehicle, owned by a nearby resident, had a broken steering column when police arrived just before 7 a.m. When police contacted the owner, he said he didn't know where the 1987 GMC truck was, that it was not running because of a dead battery and was parked unlocked at his home. The owner retrieved the vehicle, which only sustained damage to the steering column, and said nothing was missing.
The truck owner called police a short time later to report that someone broke into and attempted to steal another truck on his property, a 1985 Chevrolet. It, too, had a broken steering column, but nothing was stolen.
Gas tank damaged
A Martinez woman told police Friday that she believes someone put a chemical or other substance in the gas tank of her vehicle.
The 58-year-old said her 2005 Jeep Liberty started running badly on Thursday, so she took it to a local mechanic. The mechanic told the woman that someone poured an unknown chemical into her gas tank.
The damage appeared to be to the gas tank and fuel lines. The woman said the mechanic was going to thoroughly inspect the vehicle for more damage.
Sailor's car shot
An Evans Navy seaman stationed at Fort Gordon told police Friday that someone damaged his car.
The 22-year-old drove the car to the Evans sheriff's office substation, claiming he found several dents and a broken tail light at about 7 a.m. The 2002 Audi TT Roadster convertible had been parked in front of his home since 5 p.m. Thursday.
Police said the dents appear to be impact marks from a pellet or BB rifle. The man said he does not know how many children live in his neighborhood, has not seen anyone with a BB or pellet rifle and hasn't had any recent disputes with neighbors.
Martinez Columbia Fire Rescue report for Nov. 8-14:
Structure fires, five; wood/brush/grass fires, two; controlled/unauthorized burn, one; dumpster fire, one; activated fire alarms, 15; activated carbon monoxide detector, one; gas line rupture, one; medical incidents, 29; vehicle accidents, 12; electrical incident, one; weather damage, one; investigate various incidents, four; and assist citizens, two.
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