Riverwalk patrons worried about crime increase

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Deputies are still looking for three men believed to be involved in a kidnapping and robbery at Augusta's Riverwalk earlier this month.

It's the latest in a string of recent crimes at Augusta's popular tourist attraction that's affecting those who like to work out there.

Lots of folks come to the Riverwalk to run, walk, or ride a bike...but now many say they will only come during the day, if at all, because they no longer feel safe.

"Oh, I would not come down here at night," says Augustan Iris Padgett.

For 14 years, Iris has exercised alone on the Riverwalk...but now she carries pepper spray.

"Just in case, you never know," she says.

She's one of hundreds who frequent the downtown trail each week, and she's concerned about an increase in crime there.

Similar concerns are causing Kelly McGinley to change her workout routine.

"I run later in the afternoon, instead of early in the morning, say 7 or 8, because there are not too many people down here, so the more the people, the safer I feel," she says.

After dark is when authorities say most crime is happening. In the last two months, several assaults have been reported. Most recently, there was a kidnapping turned ATM-robbery near the marina. We've been showing you surveillance pictures from the bank...it's led to one arrest, but there are at least three male suspects still on the loose.

"We issued arrest warrants for the third guy and are following leads for others, trying to bring all five subjects to justice," says Sgt. Richard Roundtree of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Some are also concerned about vandalism. Up until about two weeks ago...this was a water fountain.

"There been a fire in the trashcans; the monument down there, they have destroyed it, broke it into three pieces," Iris says.

And while authorities don't seem to know exactly who's causing all the trouble, folks we talked to seemed to have a good idea.

"There was a group of kids here being real rowdy the other night, teenagers, that was a little disconcerting, and they might have been the ones that hurt the couple that was here," Kelly says.

"I really do think it's some of the younger kids," says Iris.

If you have any information about any of the recent crime at the Riverwalk, you are asked to call the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

We're told there are officers who often patrol this area at night, but because this is such a spread out area, most folks say that doesn't make them feel safe

Here's some advice to stay safe: Always be aware of your surroundings. Try to go out in pairs. And if you are approached by someone and feel uncomfortable, try to get someplace where there are more people.