2017-05-19 / On Second Thought

Quirky Crimes in the Capital City

Forest Acres

Forest Drive: Police were called to a coffee shop at 3 p.m. Friday after employees received several complaints about a man begging for money outside. When police arrived, they found the man standing on the street corner holding a sign that asked people for financial help for food and gas. The officers told him he wasn’t allowed to panhandle, and he said he would leave, but the employees called them back a short time later to say the man had returned. He was again told begging for money was illegal and then formally trespassed from the premises. He was also warned he would be arrested if the officers found him there again.

Forest Drive: An employee at a phone store called police at 2 p.m. Friday after he said a male customer was causing a scene. The employee told the responding officers the man had come in acting in a belligerent manner, demanding the phone company repair his phone. When the employee examined the phone, he determined the battery was dead. He said he suggested the customer go to a battery store to purchase a new battery, but that apparently angered the customer because that’s when the employee said he began to “get loud” and started calling the employee names and used racial slurs. At that point, the employee said he opened the front door of the business and told the customer he had to leave. He said he told the man to “get out,” but the man refused. At that point, the customer, who was still at the store, told the officers the employee “laid hands” on him. The customer said the employee “yanked” him by the arm and shoved him outside. The customer said the employee threatened him with bodily harm. He told officers “the trouble started” the “minute” he “walked into the store.” He said the employee was “extremely sarcastic” when he told him to “go to Batteries Plus,” and that upset him-the customer. Neither man wanted to prosecute the other, so the customer left without further incident but did say he was going to cancel his service. The employee wanted the customer permanently trespassed from his store, and the customer agreed.

Forest Drive: Police were called to a coffee shop at 1 p.m. Thursday after a driver drove into a planter holding a small shrub on the patio. The 61-year-old man driving the car had blacked out behind the wheel and smashed into the planter. No one was seated on the patio, and there were no injuries to patrons or the driver. He was unharmed but vehemently refused to be transported to the hospital for any medical assistance.

There was no evidence of drugs or alcohol, and the driver was coherent when the officers questioned him. He was allowed to leave after discussing damages with the coffee shop staff.

Forest Drive: A manager of a drug store called police at 2 p.m. Tuesday after he said he was called by a bank and informed a $107 charge on a recent transaction was from a stolen debit card. The manager told the responding officers he remembered the man who made the purchase, and he would be able to identify him in a police line-up or by mug shots. The manager said the bogus customer told the cashier to use the debit card as a charge and not a debit. The manager said a credit would go through easier than a debit, and it did. The card owner’s bank raised no issues with the signature or the identification used, so the card was accepted, but now it would presumably be put back into the customer’s account.

Richland County

Bethel Church Road: A man was arrested at 4 p.m. Friday after he was involved in a hit and run accident. After the man made a lane change without signaling and hit an oncoming car, he took off and fled the scene. However, the vehicle he was driving was a company truck for the business he worked for. The vehicle had the company name on it, the address, and the phone number, so the fleeing driver was easy to find. Unfortunately, the driver was responsible for keeping the vehicle up to date in its paperwork, and he had let it lapse. Once the officers found the man, he was charged with the initial infractions of an illegal lane change and for leaving the scene of an accident, but he was additionally charged with driving a vehicle with expired tags, an out-of-date title and registration, and for no proof of insurance.

West Columbia

Augusta Road: Police were called to a women’s clothing store at noon Tuesday after employees spotted three women pulling what appeared to be a “tagteam” shoplifting scheme. Two of the women came in separately and began trying on clothes. One would distract the clerk while another would leave the store with a stolen article of clothing. Then, the third woman would come in and return the stolen article a short time later. The clerk caught on after the second attempt and called police. When the officers arrived, they found the trio all in the same car in the parking lot with the stolen merchandise. They were between the ages of 18-and 23-years-old. They were all taken into the store for a positive identification, and once the clerk confirmed they were the three she called about, they were then charged with shoplifting and taken to jail.

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