Break-in spree at Dougherty Middle & High Schools end in arrests -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Break-in spree at Dougherty Middle & High Schools end in arrests

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The break-ins at Dougherty High and Dougherty Middle School were part of a gang initiation.

Five people are now charged with gang participation in a burglary spree that caused more than 10 thousand dollars worth of damage to the schools last week. Dougherty County School Police say the five students smashed windows to get into the schools, but the damage inside was worse. Now they're behind bars and Albany Police are preparing charges in another crime the students may have had a hand in.

Smashed windows, doors that have been kicked in, the damage five students did inside Dougherty Middle and High Schools goes on and on.

"Damaged big screen televisions, there was some damage to computers that were used for administrative purposes and for the actual student body," said Dougherty County School Police Chief Troy Conley.

Images caught on surveillance video inside the school gave school police the leads they needed.

"Through I guess identifying individuals through their clothing, height and build, and even some hair descriptions," said Conley.

Over the weekend school police charged 18 year old Jeremy Hightower, 20 year old Brandon Rogers, 17 year old Tohj Hamilton and a 14-year old and a 13-year old with four counts of criminal damage, two counts of burglary, and gang participation.

"There was certain paraphernalia that was located, they had in their possession at the time of the arrest that would lead us to believe that they are affiliated with some gang here in town," said Conley.

With deputized powers from the Dougherty Sheriff's Office, school police were able to follow this case through and solve another break-in in the process at the Pic N Save grocery store on Albany's east side.

"When one agency gets something and we communicate with the other agencies then we end up clearing up more cases which is a good positive thing," said Albany Police Lt. James Williams.

Chief Troy Conley said all of the students accused in the break-ins here will be charged in the Pic-N-Save smash and grab.

Both Dougherty County School Police and Albany Police say they're still following leads in this case and expect to make several more arrests.

Dougherty County School Police say documents found on the suspects and the students' return visits to the school led them to conclude the motive for the break-ins was a gang initiation.

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