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May 21, 2015 Issue

Officer charged in child sex sting
Louisville home lost to flames
Wrens man tackles burglar

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Officer charged in child sex sting

By
Bianca Cain Johnson
Morris News Service

Law enforcement officers from 19 agencies have arrested at least one Louisville man, Travis Demond Driggers, 34, along with 21 other people in an undercover operation called Operation Mayday.

The individuals arrested are aged 19 to 52 and have each been charged with criminal attempt to commit child molestation.

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A press release from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) states additional charges may be forthcoming.

The purpose of the operation was “to arrest individuals who communicate with children online and then travel to meet them for the purpose of having sex,” the press release states.

Driggers works as a correctional officer with Richmond County Correctional Institute.

The four-day effort ended the morning of Monday, May 18. Suspects range in age from 19 to 52. All of the suspects communicated with a “child” online and then traveled to Augusta with the intention of having sex with a child.

Debbie Garner, special agent in charge of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit and commander of the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, said those charged thought most of the children were around 14 to 15 years old.

The offenders range in age, gender, race and occupation, which Garner said is not surprising.

“There is no stereotype,” she said. “There is no typical child predator. “

The undercover operation was coordinated by the GBI’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit, Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and assisted by members of the task force from 16 other Georgia law enforcement agencies.

Sheriff Richard Roundtree said he considered the operation, which took several months of “very tedious planning,” most successful.

Six of those arrested admitted to previous sexual contact with children. One had two firearms in his vehicle at the time of arrest, and two had the intent of trading something of value in order to have sex with the child.

“They were pretty surprised,” Garner said of the offenders finding themselves in handcuffs instead of meeting a child. “...Some are (remorseful) but some are just sad they got caught.”

All of the suspects’ phones and digital devices were seized. Those devices will be processed and analyzed.

Officials said in a Monday morning news conference that they hope this will bring home the importance of parents monitoring their children’s Internet activity to keep them from sexual predators.

In addition to the sexual abuse, children who meet with these type predators could fall victim to kidnapping or human trafficking.

“Children are vulnerable,” Garner said. “The predators are nice to them. They promise them they will take care of them. There are all sorts of ways that they will entice a child to meet with them.”

Officials would not release many details on the workings of the undercover operation, but said no children were actually involved. Garner said people can relate it to television operations like Dateline’s “To Catch a Predator,” but there are also a lot of differences.

Garner said this is only the second online child predator operation she has been involved in. Last year in suburban Atlanta’s DeKalb County a similar operation resulted in 14 arrests.

The following were arrested and charged in Richmond County as part of “Operation Mayday,” listing name, age, home and occupation:


1. Thomas Michael Moxley, Jr., 43, from Aiken, SC, occupation – tire store employee
2. Cody Allen Bondurant, 23, from Martinez, occupation – actor
3. Paul Ellis Kitchens, 44, from Augusta, occupation – funeral home director
4. Richard Dean Tyndall, 24, from Evans, occupation – electrician
5. Leon Cornelius Holley, 20, from Grovetown, occupation – retail stocker
6. John Kenneth Crowley, 30, from Augusta, occupation – unemployed
7. Kyle Andrew Negus, 26, from Augusta, occupation – software programmer
8. Travis Demond Driggers, 34, from Louisville, occupation – correctional officer
9. Matthew Kyle Sears, 25, from Augusta, occupation – tire store employee
10. Matthew Robert Tyndall, 25, from Augusta, occupation – restaurant manager
11. Cody Justin Pobanz, 27, from Augusta, occupation – crane tech
12. Christopher Anthony Titre, 22, Martinez, occupation – grocery store employee
13. Jordan Andrew Waters, 22, Beach Island, SC, occupation – pharmacy tech
14. Ruben Ellis Reese, 52, Martinez, occupation – deputy jailer
15. Nicholas Sebastian Barber, 23, Martinez, occupation – pool attendant
16. Ian B. Shelby, 25, Martinez, occupation – university student
17. Everett Ryan Lewis, 21, Baxley, occupation – laborer
18. Heather Elyssa Myers, 19, Fort Gordon, occupation – soldier
19. Reginald Martinez Grubbs, 40, Waynesboro, occupation – truck driver
20. Jordan Blake Roberts, 21, Grovetown, occupation – airman
21. Nicholas Michael Hopkins, 25, Evans, occupation – landscaper
22. Tyler Alexander Judkins, 19. Evans, occupation – student

Staff writer Carol McLeod contributed to this article.




Louisville home lost to flames

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Fire destroyed a home on Moore Street in Louisville Saturday, May 16, authorities said.

Capt. Richard Hutchinson of the Louisville Fire Department said this week that although the house is a total loss, there were no injuries.

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“It was already starting to fall in on itself. As we say, it was fully involved,” Hutchinson said. Hillcrest Fire Department also responded to the fire, he said. Each department sent one engine.

“We couldn’t get in anywhere. It was falling in; and, there wasn’t any way we were going to send anybody in. So we fought it defensively, from the outside,” the captain said.

The fire department’s report states the alarm was at 8:41 p.m.; and, they arrived on the scene at 8:43 p.m. It was almost 20 minutes before firefighters had the fire controlled. They cleared the scene at 10:40 p.m.

The home was a one-family, single story dwelling.

“The cause is undetermined. It’s still under investigation,” Hutchinson said.

























Wrens man tackles burglar

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

A Wrens man turned the tables on a burglar Saturday, May 16. The burglar, identified as Kadarrius King, had entered a home in Pine Valley Apartments with a second man, identified as Laderrick Demond Hammond. Both were wearing masks. One of the men carried a gun.

Wrens Police Chief Garry McCord said this week officers from Wrens PD responded to the residence after being dispatched there by 911 operators.

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“The 911 operator stated a call had come in requesting police officers because of a man with a gun,” McCord said.

“A man officers determined was the victim was on the ground on top of Mr. King when officers arrived. One officer was familiar with the victim and the victim’s family. They said that two subjects rushed into the apartment and ran into the back bedroom where Mr. King grabbed the victim’s wife’s pocketbook and was promptly tackled by the victim.

“The unidentified second person, later identified as Laderrick Demond Hammond, fled the scene. They both entered the residence wearing masks. In Georgia, you can defend your home, you can defend your family and you can defend yourself as Mr. King found out,” the chief said.

“All this happened about 1 o’clock Saturday morning. We had him in custody by 10 o’clock at night. Family members brought him in to the police department to speak with us,” he said.

King, 21, of Stapleton and Hammond, 20, of Avera have each been charged with burglary and armed robbery.

The gun was later found to be a plastic toy.




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