Aiken gets tough on most-wanted criminals

By: Lynnsey Gardner
By: Lynnsey Gardner

August 4, 2006

Aiken police are well on their way to getting the city's most wanted fugitives off the street. The Department of Public Safety released a list of their top ten most wanted last week.

Two of those on the list were arrested on Tuesday. One wanted man had to be gassed out of his house by the Aiken SWAT team. Two others have been arrested since then.

Several deputies News 12 spoke with made one thing clear: they aren't stopping until the remaining eight are all behind bars.

"We decided it was time to put our foot down and put these people in custody," says Public Safety officer John Gregory.

Of the 1700 outstanding warrants in Aiken County, Gregory compiled a list of the ten most wanted. Two have now been caught; eight remain.

The fugitive Aiken is most after is Joseph Hankerson, a.k.a. "Tree". Hankerson is wanted for the murder of Christopher Pollen in 1994. Authorities think he is in New York.

Cynthia Wilmore is wanted on ten counts of bank fraud. Her whereabouts are unknown, but she may be traveling with Donnie Garry, who is wanted on two counts of bank fraud. Their crimes are connected.

Melissa Ann Roberson is wanted for eleven counts of forgery. She is believed to be in Lexington County, South Carolina.

Andrew Toney is wanted for three counts of forgery. His whereabouts are unknown.

And Richard Gayle Bacon is wanted for unlawful neglect of a child and multiple drug and traffic charges. Bacon is believed to be living with family near Wire Road or Bacon Road in Aiken.

"We're serious about catching people," Officer Gregory says. "You need to turn yourself in or we're coming to get you."

They have already caught four.

Angela Marshal was arrested Tuesday, August 1. Marshal is currently out on bond awaiting trial.

NaShon Simpkins was gassed out of his home late Tuesday night by the SWAT team. He is in jail trying to make bond.

Sara Valentine is wanted on two counts of forgery. Valentine turned herself in Sunday, August 6.

John Edwards Phillips is wanted for three counts of fraud. He turned himself in Wednesday, August 9.

And Officer Gregory has a message for the others:

"We're going to get you. You're going to mess up somewhere."

Anyone with any information is urged to call CrimeStoppers immediately at 888-555-TIPS.

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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