Crime Report: Drugs, Criminal Trespass, Forgery, and Theft
The following information was gathered from Oconee County Sheriff's Office reports and highlights incidents reported between Sept. 29 and Oct. 2. An arrest does not mean a conviction.
The Department of Juvenile Justice called the Sheriff's Office on Sept. 29 to report a 14-year-old girl may have been sent inappropriate text messages by a man in his 30s. The teenager's mother came to the Sheriff's Office that same day. An investigation continues.
A man reportedly cashed a forged/fraudulent check in the amount of more than $1,100 at Athens First Bank and Trust on Experiment Station Road just before 2 p.m. on Sept. 29. Bank employees notified the Sheriff's Office, and deputies spotted the suspect walking behind the Publix shopping center toward the woods. When the man saw the patrol car, he fled. After a brief chase, Russell Chad Gifford, 30, homeless, was taken into custody.
Gifford was charged with obstruction of a law enforcement officer and forgery in the first degree. The money was returned to the bank.
Deputies also found a receipt for two small purchases that had been made at Publix, including a red shirt Gifford had been wearing but took off mid-chase. The shirt was recovered in the woods.
$83.80 worth of perfume bottles, a bra, and lip gloss were reportedly taken from Kohl's around 2:45 p.m. on Sept. 29. Security officers spotted a woman concealing the items and exiting the store.
Katherine Grace Witcher, 25, of Crawford, was charged with theft by shoplifting.
Another incident of shoplifting was reported at Kohl's on Sept 30. Employees witnessed a man leave the store with 6 black trash bags and head down Epps Bridge Road. Missing items are unknown. A security tape captured footage of the suspect: a black male, around 35-40-years-old, 6-3" to 6'4" and 275-285 pounds wearing a charcoal gray shirt and black denim shorts with a white baseball cap. No vehicle was seen. Anyone with information should contact the Sheriff's Office.
A resident of Flat Rock Drive reported his mailbox had been vandalized sometime in the evening of Sept. 30 or overnight to Oct. 1.
Oconee and Jones County Authorities Working Case of Suspected Meth Trafficker. Methamphetamines, valued at $20,000, were found during a search of a home on Rays Church Road on Sept. 30, the Athens Banner-Herald reports.
A man reported on Oct. 1 that he had borrowed his 14-year-old daughter's cell phone the day before and while in his possession, a text message containing a picture of an older man's penis was sent to the phone. The man told deputies he called and confronted the sender. An investigation is underway.
A 2-person deer stand and stealth deer camera were reported missing from a hunting spot behind a Whitlaw View Drive residence on Oct. 1. The victim says the theft happened between 2 p.m. on Sept. 29 and 2 p.m. on Oct. 1. Deputies discovered what appeared to be 4-wheeler tracks at the edge of the cul de sac. The case is under investigation.
Paying for goods, but stealing the shopping cart? Walmart reported a young man and woman purchased several items and left the store around 10 p.m. on Oct. 2. The pair was seen loading the shopping cart and its contents into a van and driving off. Investigators are looking into leads.
An argument between an ex-boyfriend and an ex-girlfriend led to the release of 2 exotic snakes into the back yard of a 1300 block address of Malcom Bridge Road around 4 a.m. on Oct. 2. Deputies say the man and woman had been arguing about who owned the aquarium that housed the snakes. While the man was calling 911, the woman allegedly released the snakes into the back yard.
A man faces multiple charges after allegedly trying to break into a 2000 block residence of Epps Bridge Parkway at 3 a.m. on Oct. 2. A resident of the home told deputies the man was the former boyfriend of his current girlfriend.
The victim also told deputies Bamaca had tried to run him over the day before.
Bamaca was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, simple battery, and criminal trespass.
Deputies assisted Oconee County Fire and EMS with an out-of-control man at a 1900 block address of Elder Road at 8 p.m. on Oct. 2 When deputies arrived, the man jumped into a dumpster. Using a pain compliance hold on the man's lower jaw, a deputy was able to get the man out. He was transported to Athens Regional Medical Center for a medical evaluation.