Crime

Postal worker charged with using counterfeit cash

A local postal worker is in jail after being accused of stealing and then using counterfeit money. Richard Houghtallen (photo provided) Richland County Sheriff’s deputies say 45-year-old Richard Houghtallen was arrested after some of the fake money was used at Dunkin’ Donuts on Two Notch Road. The bills were traced to Houghtallen, who is accused of stealing the counterfeit cash…

Lexington County Sheriff’s Department seeking 3 fugitives

The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department is asking for help from the community to find three fugitives from justice. David Christopher Austin (Provided) David Christopher Austen, 33, is wanted on a magistrate’s court bench warrant issued after he failed to appear in court on a charge of criminal domestic violence. His last known address was 224 Sturkie Lane in Gaston. Austen…

S.C. Attorney General appeals domestic violence prosecution ruling

The South Carolina Supreme Court will be asked to decide whether the state’s attorney general is allowed to prosecute criminal domestic violence cases in municipal and magistrate courts. Attorney General Alan Wilson filed a brief with the state’s highest court Friday, arguing that his office is given that authority by the state constitution. A West Columbia municipal judge disagreed earlier…

Teen charged with inappropriate behavior toward middle school girls

A 16-year-old male faces charges of disturbing schools after witnesses say he made vulgar comments and sexually suggestive motions to several female students as the girls were leaving Irmo Middle School on Tuesday. The incident was reported by a Sheriff’s Department school crossing guard. The boy was arrested and then released into his mother’s custody. Under South Carolina law, his…

New look for Richland County Sheriff’s Department patrol cars

Beginning Friday, you’ll be seeing Richland County Sheriff’s deputies in some unfamiliar vehicle. Sheriff Lott shows off the new Interceptor patrol car (photo provided) Sheriff Leon Lott introduced the department’s new Ford Police Interceptor sedan at a news conference Friday. The new cars will be solid black, a decision Sheriff Lott said was made to save money that can be…

Panel begins ‘Search for Justice’ in the Midlands

Issues involving questions of justice and race are often thorny ones, but starting an open dialogue about them was the goal of a forum held Thursday in Columbia. Several dozen people gathered at the Capitol City Building to listen to and discuss various topics with the Search for Justice panel. The Search for Justice Panel: Aaron Bishop (from left), Warren…

Police seek man in connection with string of crimes in Eastover

A Columbia man is wanted in connection with a series of burglaries and copper thefts over the past seven months. Gregory Skinner (photo provided) Richland County Sheriff’s deputies are looking for 33-year-old Gregory Skinner.  Sheriff Leon Lott said Skinner is accused of robbing several storage units in Eastover. Stolen items include power tools, jewelry and a camera. Skinner also is accused of…

Man accused of exposing himself to students

Lexington County Sheriff’s deputies are working to identify a man accused of trying to expose himself to female students near Irmo Middle School. SLED sketch of suspect (photo provided) A school crossing guard on Tuesday alerted the deputy who serves as the school resource officer at Irmo Middle after several parents reported that they saw the man standing near the…

Deputies: Man stole beer from delivery truck

A Gaston man is in jail after being accused of stealing two cases of beer from a delivery truck. Richard E. Richards (photo provided) Lexington County Sheriff’s deputies arrested 40-year-old Richard Eugene Richards on Tuesday in connection with the theft of two cases of Coors Light from a beverage company truck on Sunset Boulevard near West Columbia. Richards also was…

Sheriff’s office releases photos of lottery ticket theft suspects

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott is asking for help locating two people wanted in connection with the theft of a large quantity of lottery tickets from a convenience store. Surveillance video picture of man wanted for questioning (photo provided) Surveillance video picture of men wanted for questioning (photo provided) Investigators say two people broke the window of the Blythewood Stop…

Columbia police search for sexual assault suspect

Columbia police officers are searching for a man accused of sexually assaulting a woman while holding her at gunpoint. The woman told investigators that she was walking along Main Street around 5 a.m. Aug. 17 when a man drove by and asked her to get into his car. She refused at first but eventually agreed after he repeated the request…

Protesters call for end to bond for repeat offenders

A rainy Saturday morning didn’t stop dozens of people from gathering at the State House for a rally protesting the current judicial system rules that allow repeat offenders accused of violent crimes to be released on bond. Protesters wearing shirts honoring the memory of Kelly Hunnewell (photo by Allen Wallace) The crowd included friends and family member of several victims…

Father accused of killing 7-week-old son charged with abusing daughter

A local man already charged with killing his 7-week-old son through child abuse also has confessed to abusing his year-old daughter. Aqien Miller (Provided)   Aqien Miller, 22, admitted to causing serious injuries to the girl between May 2012 September 2012, according to Richland County Sheriff’s Sergeant Curtis Wilson. He will face child abuse charges in that case, in addition…

3 men wanted by Lexington County Sheriff’s Department

David Christopher Austen (Provided) The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department is asking for help from the community in finding three wanted men. David Christopher Austen, 33, failed to appear in court on a charge of criminal domestic violence, and a bench warrant was issued.  His last known address was 224 Sturkie Lane in Gaston. Austen is 5-foot-11 and has brown hair…

Police arrest man accused of shoplifting Gamecock jerseys

Columbia Police officers spending a day helping those in need arrested a man accused of helping himself to some Gamecock jerseys. Shontel Evans Peterson (Provided)The officers were collecting donations of school supplies at Walmart on Garners Ferry Road when they saw a black male running from store loss prevention employees. The suspect, who had passed by the officers and their…

Wanted: Ice cream-eating vandals

Three men who did not learn all they needed to know in kindergarten are now in trouble with the law. Authorities are searching for three men who broke into Edisto Elementary School. (Provided)   The men broke into Edisto Elementary School early July 24, breaking a classroom window. They sprayed a hallway with a fire extinguisher and then headed to…

Freddie Grant pleads guilty in Gabbiee Swainson murder; sentenced to 30 years in prison

  Freddie Grant will spend 30 years in prison without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty to the kidnapping and murder of 15-year-old Gabbiee Swainson. Freddie Grant enters the courtroom Wednesday. (Photo by Allen Wallace) Grant was sentenced Wednesday after Circuit Court Judge Robert Hood agreed to a deal reached by Solicitor Dan Johnson and Grant’s attorney. The deal…