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Two arrested in attempted jewelry store heist

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

An attempted robbery at a Stockbridge jewelry store has been foiled, and two would-be robbers have been apprehended in a joint capture by officers of the Clayton County Police Department and the Clayton County Sheriff's Office.

Police said Clarence Earl Dennis, 48, of Omaha, Neb., and Michael Andrew Johnson, 33, of Ellenwood, were caught on Tuesday morning, allegedly trying to steal from the Queen's Jewelry store, located at 3575 South East Highway 138 in Stockbridge.

Both Dennis and Johnson are being charged with armed robbery, obstruction of an officer, and kidnapping. Dennis is also being charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, according to authorities.

The incident took place around 10:30 a.m., said Clayton Police Spokesperson Lt. Rebecca Brown. "Apparently one of them went behind the counter with an employee and asked her to fill up a bag," said Brown. "They never made it out the door with the bag."

Sgt. Sonja Sanchez, a spokesperson for the sheriff's office, said that two deputies serving civil warrants in the area were the first to respond to the scene. "If the deputies weren't out there, the suspects may have very well gotten away," she said.

Sanchez said Dennis was arrested on the premises, but Johnson fled on foot to a nearby residential area. A 911 call alerted law enforcement to a "strange man" knocking on a door at the 2110 building of Summit Apartments.

Police officers found Johnson hiding in a laundry room on the second floor of the apartment building, said Sanchez.

Both suspects are being held at the Clayton County Jail.

Brown said she did not know what jewelry items the suspected robbers tried to steal, or their value. A woman who answered the phone at Queen's Jewelry store on Tuesday declined to comment.

Brown said the arrests are a sign of greater cooperation between the police and the sheriff's office.

"A quick response by both police and sheriff departments shows the spirit of cooperation between the two agencies, where law enforcement works together for the people," Brown said.