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Web posted Sunday, May 04, 2008

Police blotter

From Staff

Man hangs himself in Grovetown jail

A man committed suicide in jail Tuesday while being held by the Grovetown Department of Public Safety, according to authorities.

Jeremy David Love, 33, of the 200 block of Pine Tree Street in Grovetown, was pronounced dead at 1:52 p.m. at Doctors Hospital, Columbia County Coroner Vernon Collins said. An autopsy performed Wednesday at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab in Augusta confirmed that Love's death was suicide, Collins said

It appears Love hanged himself with a bedsheet, he said.

Love had been arrested by Grovetown police on a charge of disorderly conduct and a parole violation, said Gary Nicholson, GBI special agent in charge of the Thomson office.

Love was released from prison in June 2001 after serving a two-year sentence for robbery, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections.

A GBI probe into the circumstances of Love's death might take as long as six months, Nicholson said.

Tax service owner sentence for fraud

Chad Barrs, the former owner of a Martinez tax service, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor fraud charge.

Superior Court Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet sentenced Barrs, 28, to 90 days of probation and gave him a $300 fine. Barrs provided restitution to his former landlady, Sandra Maio.

Maio filed a police report June 23 after Barrs, who once ran a Liberty Tax Service franchise on Washington Road, bounced an $800 rent check.

Because Barrs was willing to pay restitution, his charge was lowered to misdemeanor deposit account fraud, Assistant District Attorney Philip Catalano said.

Barrs, who now lives in Atlanta, was evicted from his tax office in August.

Former clients accused him of not filing their tax returns, and a number of documents with clients' personal information were left behind at the Washington Road location, according to authorities.

Barrs has not been charged with offenses in connection with any of those incidents.

Harbin DUI case again postponed

State Rep. Ben Harbin's day in court for a drunken-driving arrest in Atlanta was postponed again Tuesday at the joint request of his attorney and the city's prosecutor.

The new date is June 24. The delay will allow more time for negotiating a plea bargain, but the lawyers cited other reasons.

Harbin, R-Evans, was charged with driving under the influence after his car hit a utility pole on an Atlanta street about a mile from the Capitol.

The trial already had been postponed more than once at the request of attorneys for Harbin and the city. It was then delayed until after the latest legislative session because state law protects legislators from prosecution while they are required to represent their constituents.

The following accounts were taken from reports from the Columbia County Sheriff's Office. Additional reports are available at

Racial incidents scare Evans man

An Evans man called police Tuesday morning after finding what he considered a racist sign on his front door.

The 36-year-old Asian man said that just before midnight Monday, someone put a sign that read, "Do you like rice?" and a picture of a bowl of rice and a picture of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on his front door.

The man said his video surveillance system recorded a man placing the sign on the door and leaving toward his neighbor's home.

He said his family is scared to go to sleep at night because of several recent incidents referring to their ethnicity.

Woman reports break-in, theft

A Martinez woman called police Tuesday after discovering that her home had been broken into and nearly $38,000 of jewelry taken.

She said she returned home about 1:30 p.m., found her front door unlocked and called her husband to confirm he hadn't been home. She also found the back door unlocked.

She told police she found her closet in disarray. She said several items were missing from the jewelry box, including three rings, three pairs of earrings, three necklaces, two watches, four broaches, a pendant and two bracelets worth $37,875.

Nothing else in the residence appeared to be missing or disturbed, the woman said.

Copper is stolen from cooling unit

A Grovetown woman told police Tuesday that between 7 p.m. Monday and noon Tuesdays someone stole the copper tubing from her outdoor heating and air conditioning unit.

She said a repairman said it would cost $4,000 to replace the air conditioner.

Grovetown man reports ID fraud

A Grovetown man called police Monday after discovering someone had fraudulently used his credit card for online purchases.

The 81-year-old said that about 4 p.m. Monday he discovered the use of his MasterCard and personal information to make a $6,000 purchase on

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