By Jason A. Smith
Henry County Police have commended two employees of a local business for their help in apprehending suspects in connection with an alleged burglary.
Jeremy Filson and Rebecca Wilson each received the Chief's Citizen Award Friday, from Police Chief Russell Abernathy.
The burglary investigation, to which they contributed, stemmed from a reported incident at a residence in Stockbridge earlier this month, according to Detective Jason Valentine.
"One of the stolen items was an engagement ring that we had a very specific description of," he said. "I notified the local pawn shops, letting them know to look out for that ring."
On Dec. 9, Filson and Wilson were working at Ed's Pawn Shop, at 4431 N. Henry Blvd., when two men came into the store with a ring similar to the one described by police. Filson said when he saw the men, something did not seem right.
"The ring didn't match the men who brought it in," explained Filson, 22. "Two guys, about 18-20 years old, with a ring [worth] around $5,000 ... it seemed suspicious."
Filson notified Wilson, who had been in contact with police about the burglary. When Wilson saw the ring and noticed similarities to the one described by Valentine, she called the detective.
"I didn't think it was a big deal," said Wilson, 22. "I was just trying to help out. I wouldn't want my ring stolen."
Authorities responded to the call and apprehended the suspects, who were still at the scene when police arrived. Valentine said a total of five arrests have been made in connection with the burglary.
"Two other people had also been arrested on the burglary [prior to Wilson's call]," Valentine said, "and information that came from the two I arrested, led to another arrest."
The alleged burglars' identities were not available Friday.
Ed Turner is the owner of the pawn shop. He said he is "proud" of both of his employees' actions as part of the investigation. "They do a good job of looking after my business, and the interests of the community," said Turner.
Police Maj. Joe Jackson, oversees the police department's Criminal Investigations Division, and was one of several law-enforcement officers who honored Filson and Wilson. He said the pair played a vital role in the case, resulting in their accolades.
"We're trying to develop a ... cooperative spirit between law enforcement and the citizenry of Henry County," said Jackson. "This is just an example of that, and so [we] wanted to show our appreciation for their assistance."
Filson said the recognition he and Wilson received from the police department feels "great." He added he did not expect to receive the honor, just for doing his job.
"Working in a pawn shop, we do get some stolen items, but I didn't think it would come to all this."
Abernathy praised the efforts of both employees, and others who have helped the department investigate past incidents. Such partnerships, he said, are "better for everyone" in the community.
"We need the eyes and ears of the citizens," said the chief. "A police officer cannot do everything himself or herself. This is one way of rewarding those people, who go that extra step."