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Man robs store with finger as gun

ATHENS — An Athens man who pretended to have a gun under his shirt robbed the J-Mart on Tuesday, Athens police Capt. Marty Bruce said.

The man walked up to the clerk at 2:50 a.m. while the clerk was outside. The store is on U.S. 72 at Hine Street.

Bruce said the robber ordered the clerk inside and said, “This is a robbery.” The man kept his hand under his shirt as if he had a gun, Bruce said.

The clerk opened the register, and the robber ordered him to put the drawer on the counter and asked if the clerk had “pushed any buttons.”The clerk said no and raised his hands in the air. The robber grabbed the money and fled. Officer Jason Threet caught the robber on Gordon Drive at 3:21 a.m. He did not have a weapon.

Bruce identified the robber as Paul Bryant Crabtree, 25, of 18114 Astor Lane. He is in Limestone County Jail with no bond set.

- Holly Hollman

Police saw through fake robbery report

Investigators arrested a man who made up a robbery story to cover up a drug deal, Decatur police said Tuesday.

Michael Boyd, 37, of Trinity reported to the police that his 2001 Chevrolet Suburban, cell phone and wallet were taken in a robbery in the parking lot of the BP station at Somerville Road and Seventh Street Southeast at about 10 a.m. Saturday.

Lt. Chris Mathews, a police spokesman, said Boyd claimed that a man approached him in the parking lot, pulled out a gun and demanded his vehicle.

While investigating the case, Sgt. Chris Jones discovered that a robbery never took place and that Boyd had actually traded the vehicle for crack cocaine, Mathews said. Police charged Boyd with filing a false report, a Class A misdemeanor.

- Seth Burkett

Elkmont man hides dope in crotch

ATHENS — An Elkmont man allegedly hid his dope in his crotch to keep authorities from finding it, according to Athens police.

Capt. Marty Bruce said police received a call that a man was selling drugs at Woodridge Apartments on Monday. Sgt. Greg Lott responded and questioned Michael Daniels, 48, of 27588 Veto Road, who allegedly provided a fake name, Bruce said.

Lott arrested Daniels and took him to Limestone County Jail. Bruce said Lott told the jail staff to conduct a strip search because Daniels was “acting suspicious.” Bruce said the staff found marijuana underneath Daniels’ genitals. He is in jail on $3,000 bond, charged with giving a false name, possession of marijuana and promoting prison contraband.

- Holly Hollman

Bills would affect coroners, officers

ATHENS — Limestone County’s coroners could get an increase in pay while its Community Corrections officers could get arresting powers. The two bills are being advertised this month as required by law.

The proposed law for coroners would give $375 a month additional expense allowance for the coroner and assistant coroner. It would give $400 to the deputy coroner. The county’s general fund would pay the increase, if the bill becomes law.

A second bill would give arresting powers to Community Corrections employees who have certification from the Peace Offices Standards and Training Commission.

Limestone started a Community Corrections program in 2006. It is on Jefferson Street in the Crutcher Shopping Center.

- Holly Hollman

Principal returns to work after Iraq

CADDO — After more than
a year in Iraq, Ricky Nichols will replace his desert fatigues with a shirt and tie when he resumes his position as principal of East Lawrence High School in June.

Nichols, an Alabama National Guard lieutenant colonel, left for his second deployment to the Middle East in April 2006.

His unit, the Sixth Battalion, 12th Brigade of the 108th Division, trained Iraqi soldiers during its deployment.

Karen Hitt, who served as interim principal in Nichols’ absence, will return to her previous position as assistant principal.

- Kristen Bishop

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