Police arrest 32 in crime crackdown

The Clayton County Police Department has arrested 32 people during "Operation Scrooge," a crackdown on what the agency calls "quality-of-life violations," including such things as illegal alcohol sales to minors, and pandering (solicitation for prostitution).

In the holiday-season operation, police also have made arrests for traffic violations and apprehended others with outstanding warrants.

"Operation Scrooge" was launched to ensure that all law-abiding Clayton County residents enjoy the upcoming holiday season, according to a news release issued Clayton County Police spokesman, Sgt. Otis Willis.

Last Thursday, authorities began the first phase of "Operation Scrooge," with traffic stops throughout the county. It netted 25 arrests, which included outstanding warrants, and 53 citations, said Willis.

"It is very important to apprehend these individuals, who are currently wanted, in Clayton County, the judicial system," Willis said. "If the individual is not brought in front of a judge, he or she is given more opportunities to commit crimes in our community.

"In fact, one of the wanted individuals was in the process of committing new crimes, attempting to break into a vehicle when apprehended the Clayton County Police Department," Willis explained.

The second phase of "Operation Scrooge," was launched on Friday, Dec. 17, and involved a crackdown on alcoholic beverage sales to minors. Ninety businesses were checked and 22 were cited for allegedly selling to minors. According to Willis, 42 citations were issued.

Willis said teens from the Clayton County Police Explorer program, a police department youth program, assisted adult police as decoys, in the stings.

"This particular crime is very harmful, because juveniles, who can purchase alcoholic beverages, have a greater chance of causing tragic events," said Willis.

"All parties who have any role in minors obtaining alcoholic beverages in Clayton County will be properly charged with a criminal offense."

He added that it is vital to enforce these laws to enhance the quality of life in the county.

According to Willis, businesses cited for allegedly selling alcoholic beverages to minors include:

• Sharp's Bar, 6703 Tara Blvd., Jonesboro,

• J.R. Crickets, 6608 Tara Blvd., Jonesboro,

• Red Lobster 6650 Tara Blvd., Jonesboro,

• Pinstrikes 3478 Mt. Zion Road, Stockbridge,

• Exxon, 4531 Old Dixie Highway, Forest Park,

• BP, 199 Upper Riverdale Road, Jonesboro,

• Casa Blanca, 5765 Old Dixie Highway, Forest Park,

• Shell Food Mart, 222 Upper Riverdale Road, Jonesboro,

• Bella Vista Food Mart, 669 Rountree Road, Suite K, Riverdale,

• BP Food Mart, 35 Highway 138 S.W., Riverdale,

• Chevron Food Mart #85, 7530 Highway 85, Riverdale,

• Citgo Food Mart, 8425 Highway 85, Riverdale,

• BP Amoco Express, 8426 Highway 85, Riverdale,

• Shell Food Mart #555, 524 Flint River Road, Riverdale,

• BP@Helmer Road, 8439 Highway 85, Riverdale,

• Quick Save Food Mart, 136 Highway 138, Suite 100, Riverdale,

• Shell Food Mart #2, 8550 Highway 85, in Riverdale,

• Rocky's, 8113 Tara Blvd., in Jonesboro,

• Benefield's, 6324 Old Dixie Highway, in Jonesboro.

In addition to fines for underage alcohol sales, Willis said servers, who failed to display their credentials, will be cited.

On Saturday, police continued with phase three of "Operation Scrooge," focusing on pandering (an act of soliciting for prostitution). It resulted in seven arrests. There was one open container charge, and seven vehicles were impounded, according Willis.

"This type of crime breeds other crimes, which will negatively affect our community," he said.