This morning's news from around the state

Columbus police seek burglar who stole ball caps

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Police in Columbus are looking for a burglar who has a taste for baseball caps.

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports somebody broke into Pickers Thrift Store over the weekend. Investigators say the owner told them the burglar got away with $40 worth of assorted ball caps.

Store owner Mark Bruer reported the break-in Sunday afternoon. Police say the thief got into the store by breaking through plywood covering a window.

No arrests had been reported Monday.


Lawyers ask judge to rule in Savannah dredge case

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Attorneys on both sides of a lawsuit over dredging the Savannah River shipping channel want a federal judge to rule in their favor quickly.

Attorneys for the Savannah Riverkeeper, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Georgia Ports Authority filed requests late last week seeking rulings in their favor without a trial.

Environmentalists have sued saying the corps needs a South Carolina pollution permit for the $650 million project because toxic cadmium will be dredged from the river and deposited on the South Carolina shore.

Maritime interests say the deepening is needed so the Georgia Ports can handle larger container ships that will routinely be coming when the Panama Canal is expanded in 2014.

The CEO of the Panama Canal Authority speaks Tuesday at a trade conference outside Charleston.


Organizers say 5th Rome Beer Fest is biggest ever

ROME, Ga. — Festival organizers in north Georgia say the 5th Rome Beer Fest drew its biggest crowd ever.

The Rome News-Tribune reports festival sponsors estimate the weekend event drew at least 1,000 people — nearly double the attendance from last year.

Wright Ledbetter, chairman of the Rome Area Council for the Arts, says the sunny weekend weather probably helped boost the festival's turnout. The arts council has sponsored the Beer Fest since 2008. Official attendance figures are expected later this week.

The festival also had more beer on tap than ever before, with 89 different brews available for tasting. There were only 50 beers featured last year.

The 2012 festival featured beers from Georgia breweries Terrapin Brewing Co., Sweetwater, Monday Night and Red Hare.


Elderly Ga. woman attacked in home invasion

MARIETTA, Ga. — Police are seeking a suspect who attacked an elderly woman after breaking into her home in metro Atlanta.

WSB-TV reports the woman, who is in her 80s, was taken to a hospital with minor injuries following the home invasion.

Marietta police spokesman David Baldwin says the attacker subdued the woman after breaking into her house early Sunday and threatened to hurt her if she didn't obey him. The burglar fled with some of the woman's cash and jewelry.

Police are asking neighbors if they saw anyone suspicious in the neighborhood late Saturday or early Sunday. Baldwin says police want to catch the culprit before he can strike again.


Ga. sheriff candidate wants judge to dismiss case

JONESBORO, Ga. — A former Georgia sheriff who's running to win back his old job is trying to get corruption charges against him dismissed.

WAGA-TV reports former Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill was scheduled to appear in court Monday. His attorneys were expected to ask a judge to throw out 37 counts brought against him by outgoing Sheriff Kem Kimbrough. Hill defeated the sheriff in a runoff election last month and says the charges are politically motivated.

Hill is accused of ordering an employee to help him write a book, using official funds to pay for a vacation rental and placing a county worker on administrative leave to travel with him.

A write-in candidate is challenging Hill in the November election.


Police: Jailed Ga. man refuses to attend court

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Officials at the Muscogee County Jail in Columbus say they are keeping a close watch on a man who refused to get dressed for a court hearing and promised to fight them if they made him go to court.

Police arrested 26-year-old Randy Harmon of Columbus on Friday on charges of aggravated assault, burglary, false imprisonment, kidnapping, a firearms offense and other crimes. They say he's accused of forcing an 82-year-old man into a church, tying him up and stealing his truck keys on Sept. 2. Harmon was driving the stolen truck when he was arrested outside a parole office.

WTVM-TV reports that Harmon was supposed to have a court hearing Saturday, but he refused to go. He remains in the Muscogee County Jail.