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HomeNewsCOLUMBIA COUNTY: Career Shoplifter May Not Survive Power Pole Wreck

COLUMBIA COUNTY: Career Shoplifter May Not Survive Power Pole Wreck


A “career criminal” is fighting for his life after stealing crab legs from the Martinez Kroger, threatening to shoot workers and then wrecking Wednesday during a high-speed chase.

Morris Morgan Jr., 54, of Augusta, was listed Thursday in critical condition at Augusta University Medical Center after the unrestrained suspect crashed into a power pole the day before.

Since 1990, Morgan has spent a dozen stints in Georgia prison for a series of seven shopliftings, three obstruction offenses and drug and theft convictions in Chatham County. He was last released in 2021 after a year in prison for shoplifting. (Story continues below.)

At the time of this week’s shoplifting, he was wanted for crimes in Richmond and Chatham counties, and he was using his cousin’s car despite a suspended license.

On Wednesday afternoon, Morgan allegedly filled a grocery cart with $300 in crab legs, steaks, paper towels and Kool-Aid and then tried to ring up only a few dollars in Kool-Aid packets at self-checkout, authorities said. Workers confronted the felon, and he told them to back away and threatened to shoot them.

A subsequent chase reached speeds of 60-80 mph and ended in a violent and fiery crash at Columbia and Washington roads around 3 p.m., authorities said. That is when he struck a Nissan Sentra and left the roadway, striking a concrete power pole.

The Columbia County deputy who led the chase saved Morgan from the vehicle after it caught fire, scratching himself on the broken windshield at the same time. No one else was injured.

Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh is an award-winning crime reporter in the Augusta-Aiken area with experience writing for The Augusta Chronicle, The Augusta Press and serving as publisher of The Jail Report. Rickabaugh is a 1994 graduate of the University of South Carolina and has appeared on several crime documentaries on the Investigation Discovery channel.
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