February 6, 2007
Edit: Please see the clarification at the end of this story.
AUGUSTA, Ga.---The Goody's store off Deans Bridge Road is back open this afternoon. The store closed after a rape yesterday, and police say they think a teenager did the crime.
The incident happened at around 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon at the Goody's off Deans Bridge Road.
Investigators arrested 17-year-old Michael Whitmore, a Glenn Hills High School student, at his home on Kindling Drive at around 8 o'clock this morning. After questioning him all day, they have charged him with rape, aggravated sodomy, kidnapping, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
Whitmore is accused of raping a 25-year-old mother of two and threatening her with a BB pistol in the bathroom at Goody's.
The incident still has customers a little scared. Frequent shopper Louis Romero is worried for the safety of his wife and five grandchildren.
"I'm concerned about it always!" he told News 12.
He's especially worried since there have been more than 100 reported rapes in Richmond County over the past year.
In this case, the incident report says the suspect ordered the woman into the stall with a gun and forced her to have sex. Surveillance video shows the victim and her alleged assailant walking up to a counter together, and then the man takes off after a witness threatens to call the cops.
It's violence that hits close to home for shopper PFC McLain, who has four sisters.
"If that happened to any of my family, I'd be upset, and I'd want justice done," he told News 12.
Deputies were led to Whitmore's home by a tip from someone who saw the surveillance video on the news. The arrest was a shock for Matthew Davis, who lives nearby.
"Coming home and finding out all my friends are in trouble...I just don't know what to say," he said. "When I heard about that I was like, 'It can't be!'"
Goody's closed after the incident yesterday, but they're open for business again today. They have no comment about this incident.
Whitmore has also been charged with armed robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime in connection with the January 11 armed robbery of the Wal-Mart on Deans Bridge Road.
News 12 would like to clarify a story we brought to you Tuesday. In the video airing to update the Goody's rape suspect arrest, deputies escorted two young men into the Law Enforcement Center. One teen, Michael Whitmore, was arrested and charged with rape. A second teen shown in our story was brought in only to be questioned as a witness. News 12 wants to clarify the second teen has not been charged with any crime.