Photo by Jim Massara
Lt. Frank Thomas brings Drake’s Landing homeowners up to date Tuesday evening on the burglary arrests.
An automatic license-tag reader that identified a stolen GMC Envoy was the break Clayton County Police needed to end a six-month burglarly spree in Jonesboro that targeted more than 20 houses in the Drake’s Landing subdivision.
Lt. Chris Windley said in a press conference Tuesday that police arrested three teenagers who confessed to the burglaries after the stolen black SUV they were driving was stopped Monday.
The juveniles are facing charges including burglary, theft by receiving, auto theft, aggravated assault, obstruction, and numerous traffic charges. Two of those arrested were 16 years old and the other was 15.
The arrest also resulted in the recovery of stolen weapons and six stolen vehicles, according to Windley.
Police had been aware of burglary patterns in the neighborhood for several weeks before that, according to Lt. Frank Thomas, evening watch commander for Sector Four, speaking Tuesday evening to a group of about 50 area homeowners.
Thomas said their break came when one of those arrested in the stolen Envoy identified houses that had been burglarized.
“He told them what they stole and where,” Thomas told the homeowners. “He’d point to a house, (a detective) would ask, ‘What did you take from there?’ then they’d go back and pull the reports and, yes, he was there.”
The teenager who identified the burglarized houses also named several other suspects. Windley said more arrests may be forthcoming.
Thomas said he didn’t think those arrested, whom he characterized as “a group of young guys that are misguided,” lived in the neighborhood. “That’s why they weren’t afraid to come over into somebody else’s neighborhood and raise hate and discontent,” he told the homeowners.
The informal homeowners meeting was called last week by the Drake’s Landing Homeowners Association, in response to what residents said was at least six months of burglaries that targeted home electronics, jewelry, guns, and eventually vehicles.
“This has just been horrible,” said resident Kathyn Wood. “We were afraid to leave the house. Everybody’s been putting in an alarm system, including us, because we were afraid.”
A few doors down, Mike Stone returned to his home on May 5 to discover his TV gone, along with a pristine Lincoln Town Car he had just gotten from his mother-in-law. The car turned up a little dirtier but none the worse for wear a few days later in College Park, where it had apparently been sold.
Giang Do’s Acura was also stolen along with her TV. It was recovered a few days later with dents. “They hit the mailbox on the way out, hit the curb, messed up the wheel,” said her sister, Xinh Do, translating for her. “Afterward, she got really scared, didn’t feel safe. She couldn’t stay at home alone.”
The house Wood shares with her husband Bob wasn’t burglarized, though — perhaps because of a small sign they placed on the porch: “It says, we’re both armed and there’s nothing in this house worth dying for,” she said.