Around the Region, Jan. 13


Published: Friday, January 13, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 7:03 p.m.

POLICE BEAT

The Oaks Mall briefly evacuated for small fire

Shoppers and employees were briefly evacuated Thursday morning from The Oaks Mall because of a small fire. No injuries were reported.

Alachua County Fire Rescue dispatched several units to the shopping center off Newberry Road at about 10:45 a.m. after a fire alarm was activated.

Officials said the alarm was tripped by a small fire in the kitchen of the Ruby Tuesday’s restaurant. The evacuation lasted less than 30 minutes.

No damage estimate was immediately available.

— Karen Voyles

Woman critically injured in crash near her mailbox

A Bronson woman was critically injured in a Wednesday afternoon crash as she pulled away from her mailbox.

Denise Tarbox, 56, was taken to Shands at the University of Florida following the 4 p.m. crash on County Road 337 and Northeast 50th Street, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Trooper Alan O. Harrison said Tarbox was heading south on CR 337 in a Honda CRV when she pulled onto the west shoulder to check her mailbox. She was alone in the Honda, according to FHP.

Meanwhile, James Devon Baker, 46, of Morriston, was driving a 2000 Ford F-250 truck north on the two-lane highway. Harrison said Baker’s only passenger was Virgil Ellis Morgan, 62, of Hawthorne.

Harrison said the crash happened when Tarbox returned to the roadway and turned left in front of the truck.

— Karen Voyles

Camera helps police nab store theft suspect

Police said they were able to identify a burglary suspect Wednesday after a surveillance camera captured a clear image of the man’s face while he was breaking into a store with a rock and a crowbar.

James Michael Williams Jr, 26, of 1600 NE 12th Ave., was arrested by the Gainesville Police Department on charges of burglary, grand theft, criminal mischief and possession of burglary tools.

Lt. Mike Schibuola said the man was spotted on a video breaking into the Citgo at 3845 NE 15th St. In the video, the man could be seen trying to break the lock on the door with a rock, then using a crowbar to pry the door open, according to Schibuola.

Damage to the door was estimated at $1,000.

About two hours later, Schibuola said he spotted the man riding a bicycle and began questioning him. The man, identified as Williams, told police he used the money he took from the Citgo to buy drugs and gamble.

Williams was booked into the Alachua County jail where he remained on Thursday.

— Karen Voyles

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