North Augusta home invasion broken up

A North Augusta woman came face-to-face with a masked man who kicked in a door at her house during an attempted break-in Monday morning, investigators say. Ben. W. Baker, 21, of New Castle Avenue in North Augusta, is in jail for first-degree burglary. Investigators say the victim was getting ready for work when about 8 a.m., she heard a knock at the door. She was unable to get to the door and heard what she thought was tapping on a window in her basement. She said she went into the basement to find out what was going on and came face-to-face with a man dressed in a black jumpsuit. She was standing at her basement door, and as she went to open it to see outside, the masked man kicked it in, said investigators. His face was covered with a black scarf or bandana, deputies reported. The suspect then took off running, and deputies called the Aiken Bloodhound Tracking Team to begin searching for the suspect. A passerby saw the deputies and told investigators he saw some men coming out of a nearby wood line. Deputies said they found the suspect trying to take off the clothes he was wearing. He made claims that he was smoking drugs and heard the tracking team dogs and didn't want to get caught, deputies reported. Investigators say they had evidence linking him to the crime scene and were able to arrest him. The suspect was wearing clothing that matched what the victim said the burglar was wearing and shoes that matched impressions taken at the home, investigators stated in the arrest warrant. Baker did not know the victim, but he does live nearby, according to the authorities. It is not uncommon for burglars to knock on a door to see if someone is home before they break in, investigators say. There have been a number of break-ins reported in the unincorporated parts of the county and in the City of Aiken in recent weeks. Police and deputies are asking people who see a suspicious person in their neighborhood to call 911. Contact Karen Daily at kdaily@aikenstandard.com