News In Brief - August 14, 2007

Rock Hill woman charged with assault on 9-year-old

Police on Saturday arrested a 29-year-old Rock Hill woman after she used a belt to beat a young boy in her care, according to a Rock Hill police report.

The woman faces assault and battery charges after authorities say she confessed to hitting a 9-year-old boy with a belt, the report states.

She was arrested when a police officer, investigating an unrelated incident on a street off Anderson Road, heard a child yell, "Please stop," the report states. The officer went to the home where he heard the noise and found the woman standing inside with a belt in her hand, the report states. After demanding to see the child, the officer was allowed to search the house where he found the boy in a back bedroom, naked and standing in a corner, according to the report.

The child, who had marks from the belt on his face, neck and back, said, "Please don't take me to jail," the report states. The woman said she was responsible for the marks and said she was trying to discipline the child for misbehaving, the report states.

The child told police that the woman watches him while his mother is at work, according to the report, and he said she usually uses the belt to discipline him.

Police also took custody of the child until his mother and the Department of Social Services could be notified, the report states. He was released to his mother the same day.

62-year-old robbed at Rock Hill home

A 62-year-old woman was punched, robbed and shut inside her bathroom after answering her front door Friday morning, a Rock Hill police report states.

Around 10:45 a.m. Friday the woman answered a knock on her door on Cedarview Court when a man asked if someone else lived there, the report states. The woman said the person he was looking for did not live there, when the suspect pushed open the door, put on a mask and punched the woman in her right eye, the report states. He then demanded money, and she gave him $15 from her purse, the report states.

The man pushed the woman into her bedroom, placed a pillow over her face and ransacked her room and closet, the report states. The man then closed the woman inside her bathroom and fled the home, according to the report.

After talking to a neighbor and getting a statement from the victim, police are looking for a black male age 18-22, about 5' 11" tall and 170 pounds, the report states. He was wearing dark-colored nylon shorts, a white tank top and a t-shirt as a mask at the time of the attack, the report states, and was driving a champagne Chevy Malibu with a missing hubcap on the front driver's side.

If you have information about the home invasion, call Rock Hill police at 329-7200.

Two men rob Fort Mill convenience store

FORT MILL -- Two men robbed a convenience store on U.S. 21 Sunday, according to a York County Sheriff's Office report.

The report states two men entered the Petro Express at 3472 U.S. 21 in Fort Mill around 11 p.m. Sunday. They walked around the store for about five minutes before walking behind the counter and telling the clerk to sit down so he wouldn't be harmed, according to the report. The clerk told police one of the men was holding a silver object in his palm, but it was unclear if it was a weapon, the report states.

The suspects took an undisclosed amount of cash from the store and left the scene in a two-door, silver Ford Escort, the report states. Police are investigating a surveillance tape in an attempt to identify the suspects, the report states. No arrests have been made.

Higher tri-county ozone levels expected today

Increased ground-level ozone concentrations are expected today, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

An Ozone Action Day is in place in York, Chester and Lancaster counties today, according to a DHEC news release. People with asthma, respiratory diseases, active children and adults are reminded to limit prolonged outdoor exertion, said Myra Reece, chief of DHEC's Bureau of Air Quality.

Reece said ways to limit ground-level ozone include, carpooling, pumping gas after 6 p.m., staying in for lunch, using mass transit and avoiding excessive idling. She said ground-level ozone is formed when hot, dry, stagnant weather exists, and vehicle emissions contribute to the formation.

To learn more about ozone and see the daily forecast, visit www.scdhec.gov/ozone.

McCain downplays Iowa straw poll during S.C. visit

COLUMBIA -- Republican presidential candidate John McCain on Monday downplayed his 10th-place finish in an Iowa straw poll and said those contests were "meaningless."

"We announced a long time ago that we didn't think it was a valuable expenditure of my time," McCain said after talking to about 350 members of the Columbia Rotary Club.

The Arizona senator, starting a two-day swing through early voting South Carolina, skipped the Iowa straw poll along with front-runner Rudy Giuliani and all-but-declared candidate Fred Thompson.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney easily won the straw poll with 4,516 votes, or 31.5 percent. That was nearly as much as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback had combined with their second and third place finishes, respectively.

McCain, who garnered 101 votes, said he was surprised to get that many.

"I thought it would be zero," McCain said. "I think straw polls are meaningless, and that's all."