Calling all Augustans: Be on the lookout for stolen items that didn’t perish in the terrible fire at Marshall Square, but may have been sold and scattered throughout the community.
Ever since the Metro Spirit published its cover story about the tragic events surrounding the Marshall Square fire, the newspaper has received information from citizens concerned that they might know the whereabouts of some of the residents’ precious items.
One reader’s mother was recently refurbishing a new house and answered an ad on Craigslist offering appliances and fixtures for sale.
When the mother met the man in Evans over the summer, he had a lot more to offer than just appliances.
The man, whose name was “Jerry,” said he was selling some of the appliances recovered from the Marshall Square fire. The mother agreed to purchase some of the appliances for her new home, but then noticed something strange.
“In one area, there were pocketbooks, credit cards, paintings, furniture and photos that had been just strewn all over the place,” said the woman’s daughter, who asked that her name not be used in the paper. “There was even a pile of gift cards on the floor. It was obviously residents’ personal items.”
Immediately, the mother began to get nervous.
There was another woman in the room going through all the purses and personal items, gathering them up and taking them to another location.
“Jerry told her, ‘You know, if you can wait about a week or two, we are going to have a big yard sale at a house in Martinez.’ And my mom was like, ‘I’m not interested in all of that,’” the daughter said.
The mother was so shocked by what she had seen that she just wanted to quickly get away from Jerry and head back home.
“But the more she thought about it, she began to worry,” the daughter said. “It was like, red flag, red flag, red flag. But she didn’t know who to call.”
The daughter recalled her mother telling her a story of an uncomfortable encounter this past summer with a man selling items on Criagslist, but she didn’t remember the details of the story until she began reading and hearing more about the fire at Marshall Square.
When the daughter learned this week about the lawsuits trying to recover some personal items for former Marshall Square residents, she immediately asked her mom to try to remember all the details of her encounter with “Jerry.”
As the mother began to recount what she had seen, the daughter immediately knew that they needed to share the information with the proper authorities.
“I told her, ‘Mom, this is a big thing. We have to help these people,’” the daughter said. “Because a lot of these people, from what I understand, they weren’t allowed to go back in and get their personal items. It’s just terrible.”
As a result, the Metro Spirit helped connect the mother and daughter with local attorney Freddie Sanders, who was recently appointed by Superior Court Judge Carl Brown to help recover the property of former Marshall Square residents.
Sanders has also been given the authority to investigate the disposition of any of the residents’ property.
It appears the residents’ lawsuits against the owners of Marshall Square might be right on the money.
“After the fire, the Marshall Square Defendants made no effort to recover personal property of a sentimental value, some of which was located in safes, but allowed the clean-up crews to take items that were irreplaceable,” states the lawsuit filed by local attorney Jack Long on behalf of some of the Marshal Square residents.
And now those personal items may be out there in the community.
People might have unknowingly purchased jewelry, furniture or paintings from a yard sale over the summer in Martinez and had absolutely no idea that the items were from the Marshall Square fire.
But if you have any suspicions about some items you may have bought over the past eight months or so, please contact attorney Freddie Sanders at 706-722-7542.
He wants to get down to the bottom of what may have happened to some of the items “lost” in the Marshall Square fire.
Locating those missing items would mean the world to some of the Marshall Square residents who have already lost so much this past year.
“At the end of the day, we knew it was the right thing to do,” the daughter told the Metro Spirit this week. “If it was your items or your parents’ items, you’d want them back, too.”