Around the region - Sep. 1

Published: Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 at 9:22 p.m.


Police: 1 of 3 arrested in area pistol whipping

Alachua police have arrested one of three men suspected of pistol whipping a passenger in a parked car and robbing him of $450 and a cell phone.

Akeem Rasheed Welch, 23, of 13100 N.W. 151st Place in Alachua, was charged with robbery with a firearm, grand theft, armed burglary of a vehicle, and aggravated battery.

Police said the incident occurred at about 9:15 p.m. Monday on Northwest 154th Ave. while the victim was a passenger in a parked vehicle. The victim told police that one of the three men who walked up to the car, hit him on the right side of the head with a pistol and demanded his money, then took the victim's cell phone before all three suspects ran off.

The victim, who received a small cut on the side of his head where he was hit with the pistol, was able to identify one of the men as Welch, according to police.

Welch was arrested early Tuesday morning near his home and booked into the Alachua County jail.

- Karen Voyles

Call for help ends with man accused of arson

A Lake City man was taken into custody Tuesday in connection with a fire at the home of his girlfriend, reported the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

Burton E. Beasley, 41, was taken into custody after he called 911 to report chest pains, Sgt. Ed Seifert said.

The incident began when a home at 128 N.W. Michelle Place was reported at about 4:30 a.m. to be on fire.

The resident told deputies that Beasley poured gasoline on the outside of the bedroom window and lit it on fire while she was lying on a bed directly beneath the window, Seifert reported.

She tried to get out of the home but Beasley was holding the door shut, she told authorities. The woman was eventually able to push her way out. Beasley ran away and authorities were not able to locate him.

However, he was later taken into custody after he called 911 for help, Seifert said.

- Cindy Swirko

Officials: Woman left 2 kids alone in parking lot

Alachua County sheriff's deputies arrested a woman working at McDonald's because she left her two pre-school boys unsupervised in an apartment complex parking lot after dark.

Bianca P. Long, 27, of 1415 S.W. 42nd St., was charged with two counts of child neglect after she was questioned about her children.

Sheriff's spokesman Lt. Steve Maynard said Long left the boys, ages 2 and 4, outside at the apartment complex where their father lived.

Four text messages sent to the boys' father from Long's phone included statements that she intended to leave the children unsupervised, Maynard said. The last message, sent at 10 p.m. when Long clocked in to work at the McDonald's on Archer Road at Interstate 75 told the father, "Go get them. I'm at work."

The children were discovered when they wandered up to a stranger's apartment crying.

Maynard said the children were unable to provide their parents' names or information about where their parents had gone.

The boys were turned over to their father.

Long, who was arrested outside the McDonald's, was booked into the Alachua County jail.

- Karen Voyles


Fundraiser was held on behalf of Sebastian

The family of slain teenager Sebastian Ochsenius said they have raised about $15,000 in a reward fund and plan to keep up the effort until the case is solved.

A fundraiser was held at the Zaxby's restaurant at 2424 N.W. 43rd St. on Tuesday evening.

Sebastian's brother is the Zaxby's district manager and it was the second fundraiser held at a local Zaxby's since Sebastian's death June 29.

Authorities believe Sebastian, 17, was shot by an intruder who entered the back of his home through a sliding glass door.

"We are going to keep doing this until somebody comes forward with information. We are not going to stop here," said Sebastian's father, Boris Ochsenius Sr.

- Cindy Swirko

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