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Police warn against holiday vehicle break-ins

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

In light of a recent arrest, Henry County authorities are urging residents to keep a close watch on their belongings during the holiday season.

Cases of car break-ins "generally increase slightly" during this time of year, according to Henry County Police Maj. Jason Bolton. He said residents should take precautions, to protect themselves and their vehicles.

"Car owners should ensure that their vehicles are locked when they leave them unattended," Bolton said. "It helps to remove any valuables from plain view, so that thieves are not tempted to break into the car. Be sure that purses, wallets, checkbooks, laptops, cameras, phones, [global positioning] systems, or things that would catch someone's eye, are not visible when looking in the window of the vehicle."

The major made the remarks on the heels of a related investigation by his agency. Police reportedly connected a Stockbridge man to two alleged vehicle break-ins Thursday, involving thefts of electronic items.

Kelvin Devon Corley, Jr., 18, of Stockbridge appeared Friday in Henry County Magistrate Court, represented by the Public Defender's Office, and waived his right to a preliminary hearing. Judge Robert Godwin set Corley's bond at $20,000, and bound his case over to Superior Court.

The thefts reportedly occurred Thursday, outside a pair of homes on Mimosa Drive in Stockbridge, according to an arrest warrant obtained by Henry Police Officer Joe Clark. Corley is suspected of entering a Hyundai Accent at the first home, and taking a laptop computer and an iPOD, according to the warrant.

"The accused [then] entered a 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse [at the second residence]," the warrant states. Corley allegedly stole a camera from that vehicle.

Authorities, the warrant states, later found Corley at his home, reportedly carrying drugs and a weapon.

"The accused did have ... a Taurus pistol while being a convicted felon [and] a clear-colored baggie containing 15 small, green zip-lock ... baggies with suspected marijuana," the warrant continues.

Corley is charged with two counts of entering an automobile, and one count each of theft by receiving, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

According to records from the Henry County Jail, Henry County Police had previously arrested Corley for burglary on Sept. 10, 2009.

Corley was convicted on Dec. 14, 2009, and sentenced to serve 60-120 days in a detention center, jail records state.

Additional details on the entering-auto cases were not available from police Friday. Public Defender Gary Bowman could not be reached for comment.