Sheriff’s Office, Police Department confirm one woman reported alleged aggravated assault Wednesday afternoon

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

Local public forums on Facebook have been host to a number of discussions the past two days regarding two reported crimes involving young women with children victimized by a black male who approached them at their vehicles and brandished a weapon at them.

The Grip has contacted personnel of the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office and the Griffin Police Department and has been able to discern that one incident, said to have occurred Thursday, did not happen.

According to that original social media post, which was shared more than 100 times in a matter of only a few minutes, the incident allegedly occurred in broad daylight and involved a black male subject with dreadlocks pointing a firearm in a woman’s face and demanding her purse as she was buckling her child in its car seat.

The post asserted that another woman witnessed the incident and phoned a report in to 911, and that officers arrived within minutes, but did not apprehend the suspect.

However, officials of the Griffin Police Department say that did not happen.

According to Lt. Mike Richardson, of the GPD’s Criminal Investigation Division, no such incident was reported to authorities.

“I called dispatch and spoke with Sgt. John Hayes, who was the shift supervisor on duty today, and we haven’t had any reports of that at all. There have been no reports of any robberies today,” Richardson said Thursday.

However, upon seeing that Facebook post, Teassia Collier reported having been the victim of a similar crime Wednesday afternoon.

Collier said she did report the incident to the Sheriff’s Office, but a late Thursday evening call to Sheriff Wendell Beam resulted in the same information as that provided by Richardson. Beam said he had also contacted Spalding County E911 and was told no report of any crime such as the one Collier described had been reported either Wednesday or Thursday.

Beam said he would check further Friday morning, but a return call late in the afternoon yielded no additional information.

The Sheriff said he had checked with Capt. Tony Ranieri, of the SCSO Criminal Investigation Division, who informed him he had not received notification of such an incident having been reported.

“If someone had filed a report, it would have gone to our investigative unit, but it didn’t,” Beam said.

The Grip soon obtained information, however, that provided details that assisted authorities in locating Collier’s Wednesday afternoon report.

Ranieri said, “It was actually written up by one of our deputies. She (Collier) stated she was at the intersection of N. Hill Street and N. 6th Street when a black male wearing a dark shirt with a blue bandana around his neck and a blue bandana around his waist approached her car. He tried to open up her car door while she was at the stop sign. When it wouldn’t open, he pointed a gun at her and she sped off.”

Ranieri said the confusion in locating the report resulted from the location of the 911 call.

“It was written as a miscellaneous report rather than an incident report because it happened in the city,” he said. “Apparently, she waited until she got home to call 911 and that’s when we were dispatched.”

The location where the incident allegedly occurred was within the jurisdiction of the Griffin Police Department, but Collier did not report it to 911 until she arrived at her parent’s home located on Ponderosa Drive, which is in Spalding County.

Deputy Ken Evans informed Collier that he would have E911 issue a BOLO (alert to be on the lookout) for the suspect she described, but he advised her to contact the Griffin Police Department to report the incident to the proper jurisdiction.

Due to another personal matter, Collier chose not to make contact with any GPD personnel, though, so the incident was unknown to its investigators, and was also not forwarded to SCSO investigators because it occurred within the city limits.

In another late Friday phone call, Richardson confirmed he had been contacted by Ranieri, who relayed the details reported by Collier Wednesday.

“Apparently, she (Collier) did file a report…and Tony Ranieri has reached out to me,” Richardson said.

Investigator Adam Hicks, of the SCSO CID, has been assigned to contact Investigator Stan Phillips, of the GPD CID, regarding the case.

“We do not have an official report. This woman has not filed a report with us at this time,” Richardson said. “Investigator Hicks was going to contact her, but he wanted to contact Stan Phillips first. I’ve already briefed Stan, so he’s aware of the situation.”

Richardson reiterated that the incident reported Wednesday is not the same as the crime alleged to have occurred near the Post Office on Thursday, but that an investigator has been assigned to work Collier’s case.

“The Sheriff’s Office is communicating with us about the case and we’ll be looking into it,” Richardson said. “We certainly will by all means address it once we make contact with her to obtain additional information. Our official stance, though, is that it still hasn’t been reported to us by the victim.”

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