0

Drug bust recovers missing bullet-proof vest

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

Police are cross-checking serial numbers, after an early morning SWAT raid recovers a bulletproof vest that may have been stolen from a police uniform store.

During a three-part, Special Weapons and Tactics raid of suspected drug dealers late last week, Clayton County police found the vest, which they believe was stolen from T & T Uniforms, on Oct. 22.

During a search of a Jonesboro apartment at 790 Dixon Road, county narcotics officers found two grams of marijuana, three grams of cocaine, several loose rounds of ammunition, and the bulletproof vest.

"It was in the closet," said Lt. Robert Bridgeman. "It was just stuck away."

The officers, cooperating with the Jonesboro Police Department, in the uniform store burglary investigation, recognized the brand name on the body armor, and called the store.

"They said it sounds like theirs. Now we're just trying to get all the evidence together," Bridgeman said. The information was turned back over to the Jonesboro detectives for possible burglary charges.

The two residents of the apartment, Jamal Beadles, 21, and Jason Ward, 19, were arrested by county police on drug charges.

The two men have not been charged with the Oct. 22 smash-and-grab robbery at the store on North Main Street.

Even if the vest matches the one taken from the store, Jonesboro police are still looking for another vest, watches, sunglasses and a mannequin that went missing at the same time, according to the police report.

More than $6,600 worth of items were reported stolen from the store when the owner arrived to find the front window smashed by a landscaping block.

Jonesboro Police traced a burgandy-colored Buick, reported seen at T & T the day before the break-in, down to an apartment complex in Spalding County. Two men -- a six-foot-five man, with a gold grill in his mouth and another, shorter man -- drove off in the 1993 Buick after asking about body armor and looking at watches and sunglasses.

Jonesboro Police Detective Sgt. Tim Jessup said the officers were following some solid leads, and thought the investigation might connect with Clayton and Spalding county cases. That seems to have happened during the SWAT raids when county narcotics officers found one vest.

According to Bridgeman's report, the agent took search warrants to three residences after undercover officers made repeated drug buys. In addition to the Dixon Road apartment, the narcotics and SWAT teams also raided a Riverdale apartment at 639 Lassiter St., at 5:22 a.m. They found a marijuana plant growing in the kitchen, police said, two grams of marijuana and one gram of cocaine. They also seized a .380-caliber handgun, which was stashed in an air vent.

At the Lassiter address, police arrested Roderick Mayner, 31, and charged him with possession of illegal drugs.

At 10 a.m., the SWAT and narcotic teams went to 4089 Elizabeth Park Court, in the Conley area, and caught four people as they fled out the back door. Three adults, Trawick Waters, 24, Courtney Banks, 24, and Terrance Martin, 28, were arrested. A juvenile was turned over to the detention center.

During their search, officers found six grams of cocaine, two grams of marijuana, a gun and $1,100 in cash. All three men were charged with possession of marijuana and cocaine.