Increased patrols in an area of East Cobb hit in mid-January by a series of nighttime residential burglaries have led to the arrests of four suspects from across metro Atlanta, an official with the Cobb County Police Department announced this afternoon.
Between Jan. 17 and Jan. 26, neighborhoods located off Lower Roswell Road, east of Johnson Ferry Road, began experiencing a series of "brazen" residential burglaries, Lt. Destiny Davidson said.
"Normally, residential burglaries occur during daytime hours when thieves believe that people are at work or school," she said. "We became particularly concerned when we saw the trend present that they were actually entering the homes at night while people were asleep. That is why we increased the patrols in the area."
It was during a patrol around 3:20 a.m. Monday that an officer spotted a Chevrolet Impala matching the description of one of the suspect's vehicles. The officer pulled the car over and detained the people inside for follow-up questioning.
Jontavious Clark, 26, of Austell, Maloy Brooks, 48, of Atlanta, and Jaquoria Harris, 20, of College Park were arrested on charges of burglary and entering auto related to items found in the vehicle.
Additional stolen property was recovered after search warrants were served simultaneously at apartments in Clayton County and South Cobb.
Wednesday, another search warrant was served on an apartment on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Atlanta. Authorities found more stolen goods and took Richard Burgess, 64, of Atlanta, an acquaintance of the trio, into custody. An unidentified woman who lived at the apartment was arrested on an unrelated outstanding warrant.
In all, Davidson estimates that as many as 17 people have been victimized in Cobb. There are other victims in other jurisdictions that are handling their own cases, so the total number is closer to 30, she said.
"I wouldn't necessarily qualify it as a burglary ring," Davidson said. "It's a group of people who are acquaintances who are working together."
None of the East Cobb incidents involved forced entry, Davidson said. Vehicles were left unlocked in the driveway or in unlocked—and sometimes open—garages. In the cases where suspects entered the home, doors were also left unlocked.
"People get lulled into a sense of security," Davidson said. "East Cobb's a very safe place to live. These incidents don't happen that much out here. Quite frankly, people get busy with their lives and they just go in at night and sometimes forget to lock their doors."
Asked why the suspects allegedly targeted East Cobb, Davidson said the area "is known to be an affluent area. The thieves went where the money and valuables were. Simple as that."
A majority of the stolen items that officials located were high-dollar items, including a $35,000 Gucci crocodile purse.
The investigation is ongoing and the suspects may face additional charges of burglary and entering auto, Davidson said.