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Reward offered in catalytic converter theft

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

Atlanta Crime Stoppers, working with the Clayton County Police Department, is offering a reward for information about the theft of catalytic converters.

The catalytic converters were stolen on May 16, in an attack that stripped the platinum-laced exhaust-filters off of 31 buses at Huntleight Bus, in Forest Park, and left two guard dogs seriously injured.

According to police, catalytic converters are stolen for the platinum inside. The precious metal is worth about $2,000 per ounce.

The Forest Park robbery was especially brazen, though, because so many catalytic converters were ripped off the buses, and because the dealership's two dogs, Loco and Misty, were badly injured.

The dogs are reportedly recovering, though they will never work as guard dogs again. Anyone with information about the stolen catalytic converters is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (404) 577-TIPS.

Single-car crash killed man Saturday

A 28-year-old man was killed when his car crashed into a pine tree along Interstate 675.

Vernon Martin, Jr., of Jenkinsburg, was driving south at about 7 p.m., Saturday night, in his blue, 2005 Saab. Witnesses said the Saab was drifting across lanes, and then drifted off the road, according to a Clayton County Police Department accident report.

When the vehicle went off the shoulder of the interstate, it spun out of control, police said. The car hit a pine tree and the driver was "crushed by the impact," according to the police report. Martin was pronounced dead at the scene.

Prostitution sting snares 7

Seven men, ranging in age from 20 to 41, were arrested during a six-hour prostitution sting.

The men allegedly offered money to Clayton County Police officers, who were posing as prostitutes and walking up and down the side of North Main Street in Jonesboro, on Thursday, June 12.

Those arrested were: Jose Meldez, 20; Timothy Brown, 21; Mark Brazzelle, 41; Antonio Guzman, 23; Phalando Lawson, 33; Juan Martinez, 26; and Sergio Loeza, 21.

The men were each charged with a misdemeanor pandering charge and face a possible punishment of 12 months in prison.

The prostitution sting is part of an ongoing operation run by the police department. Using female officers as decoys, the department has targeted three locations -- in Jonesboro, in Stockbridge, and on Old Dixie Highway -- which all have extended-stay motels and have reportedly had problems with street-walking prostitutes.

Police say the operations temporarily move the real prostitutes off the street and make would-be johns more suspicious for a while.

The June 12 sting comes almost exactly two years after a similar operation was run in the same location. On June 9, 2006, the police ran a prostitution sting on North Main Street with two women acting as decoys. They arrested 19 men, including a newly hired county corrections officer and a 21-year-old celebrating his birthday, on charges of solicitation and pandering.