Apartments suffer fire, smoke damage

•SNELLVILLE - An accidental apartment fire Tuesday night at Cambridge Downs at 2945 Rosebud Road displaced the residents of two units.

Fire investigators said a utility light ignited a comforter in the bedroom of Apartment 808 at 10:03 p.m. No one was home at the time. A neighbor who heard the smoke detector go off forced entry to the apartment and tried to put out the blaze with a portable fire extinguisher, said Thomas Rutledge, spokesman for the Gwinnett County Fire Department.

The sprinkler system extinguished the fire before firefighters arrived and contained it to the bedroom. There was smoke damage throughout the apartment and slight water damage to the apartment directly below.

Man jumped from behind after party

•DULUTH - A Lawrenceville man was badly beaten Sunday when three men accosted and robbed him while he was walking on Pleasant Hill Road, according to a police report.

The victim, a 31-year-old Hispanic man, was walking home from a party about

4 a.m. near Sweetwater Road when the trio jumped him from behind, took his wallet and started beating him about the head.

The victim was taken to Gwinnett Medical Center in Lawrenceville for treatment of a facial fracture around his right eye.

The victim reportedly didn't get a good look at his attackers because the attack happened suddenly and they were wearing hooded shirts.

Video store robbed

•LAWRENCEVILLE - A man on Monday robbed the Blockbuster video store at 4850 Sugarloaf Parkway.

The suspect came into the store about 11:45 p.m. and pretended to fill out an application for a membership card. When he approached the register, the man produced a handgun and ordered a female employee to empty the cash registers.

He then forced the woman and another employee into the rear of the store and told one of them to remain in the bathroom, according to a police report. The other worker was ordered to open the store safe and then join the employee in the bathroom.

The suspect told the employees he had just lost his job and he needed the money. He also maintained continuous contact via cell phone with his getaway driver in the parking lot. He is described as an Asian man in his mid- to late 30s with short spiked hair, about 5 feet 7 inches tall and 170 pounds.

Fire causes heavy damage to house

•SNELLVILLE - A fire caused heavy damage Sunday to a house in Snellville.

Firefighters were dispatched at 10:18 p.m. to 3637 Oakland Spring Court and arrived six minutes later to find flames visible from the front of the two-story dwelling. The residents escaped without injury, said Thomas Rutledge, spokesman for the Gwinnett County Fire Department.

The houses on either side of the home received minor damage to exterior siding, Rutledge said. The cause of the blaze was still undetermined

Salesman robbed in bank parking lot

•LAWRENCEVILLE - A salesman was robbed Friday in the parking lot of a Wachovia Bank on his way to make a store deposit.

The employee for Bird Pro Supplies at 665 Raco Drive in Lawrenceville was parked, eating his fast food lunch about 2:30 p.m. when an older gray minivan pulled alongside his vehicle. A passenger exited the car and asked if he had a few dollars to spare. When victim replied that he did not, the suspect looked into his car and asked, "What about that blue bag?" according to a report.

The suspect allegedly brandished a small hunting knife and demanded the deposit bag containing a large amount of cash. He then got back into the van and fled the scene.

The suspect is described as a white man in his 50s wearing jeans, a white T-shirt and a baseball cap.

Two men arrested in fight at tavern

•STONE MOUNTAIN - Two men were arrested Friday on charges of instigating a fight at Will Henry's Tavern at 1228 Rockbridge Road.

The victims told police they were playing pool at 11:30 p.m. when a group of men approached them and began making rude, racially divisive comments toward them.

The victims said one of the suspects told them, "You n------ don't belong in here playing pool," according to a police report. The suspects then began punching and kicking them.

As the victims were talking to police, 38-year-old Robert Wade Thacker and 42-year-old Carlos Ray Thacker exited the bar and claimed the victims started the fight, the report said. However, other patrons and a waitress who observed the events said the Thackers had initiated it without provocation.

On the way to jail, police say, Robert Thacker told the officer, "If I knew I was going to jail, I would have beat that n----- harder." The men were charged with battery and disorderly conduct.

Man accused of stabbing girlfriend

•WINDER - A man was arrested Friday when he reportedly punctured his girlfriend in the back with a knife.

William Chapman, 35, told police he saw his girlfriend lying in his truck when he went to open the door and began banging on the door when it was locked.

According to a police report, Chapman began to chase his girlfriend once she left the truck but said he was unable to catch her. He told police he didn't know anything about the puncture wound in her back.

Chapman's girlfriend said he stabbed her while he was chasing her, according to the report. Chapman was charged with aggravated assault after police found two steak knives in the kitchen sink.

Spray cans used to set fire near house

•LILBURN - Someone set fire to several spray cans Saturday outside a home on Newburn Street in Lilburn, causing them to explode.

Police discovered six cans of deodorant and one spray-paint can were burned on the top and several looked like they had detonated. Someone apparently lit the cans on fire about 11:40 p.m., because the resident reported hearing noises like gunshots and seeing a fire in the road.

The previous night a vandal did the same thing, and there was still debris from broken brown glass bottles in the roadway, according to a police report. The homeowner, who is an FBI agent, told the officer he didn't know who would have tried to set off the small-scale explosion, but he did not believe it was related to his job.

Man arrested after fleeing traffic stop

WINDER - A man nearly ran over a police officer after running into a ditch while he tried to avoid a traffic stop.

The car 30-year-old Jason See was driving matched the description of one that police had a lookout for, according to a report. Police followed the car, then saw See run a stop sign at 11:51 p.m., the police report said.

See did not stop for the police officer's blue lights and sirens, according to the report, but instead sped up and turned off his headlights and taillights. The officer canceled the traffic stop but continued to follow See's car.

After hearing squealing tires, the officer saw the red Chevrolet Blazer in a ditch at McNeal Road and Candler Street, the report said.

See told the officer he would get out of the car, then accelerated and attempted to leave the scene.

The officer sprayed See with pepper spray, which had no effect, according to the report. See allegedly rolled up his window and continued his attempt to flee. Officers then broke See's window with a baton, got him out of the car and handcuffed him, the report said.

See told police he was looking for someone who had stolen his stereo earlier that day and did not know he was being followed by a police officer. He was charged with fleeing/attempting to elude, reckless driving, three stop sign violations, obstruction and headlights not in use for the Feb. 16 incident.

- From staff reports