ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Leesburg Police hope they put an end to a string of car break-ins spanning three counties. They recovered thousands of dollars worth of items stolen in recent weeks from potentially dozens of cars. Four suspects are in jail after a simple traffic stop tipped off the cops.
Several men went on a free shopping spree nabbing everything from Louis Vuitton bags to stereo equipment. "CD's, cameras, anything they could get their hands on," said Sergeant James Vick with Leesburg Police.
The spree started in November. "About the time everyone was doing their Christmas shopping," said Vick.
Some of the evidence from that illegal shopping is now spread out at the Lee County Sheriff's Office. Police also recovered sunglasses, a check, credit card and several dangerous weapons.
"This was taken in an entering auto in Leesburg. This is the new one called The Judge. It shoots a 4/10 shotgun shell or a 45 long," said Vick.
A military vest was the one item that helped the case. It was stolen from a Marine's vehicle Saturday night and spotted during a traffic stop the next day. "When they made the traffic stop, the flat vest was in the back seat," said Vick.
That one traffic stop in Leesburg led to four arrests. Law enforcers say they're responsible for more than two dozen car break-ins at places like the Wal-Mart and movie theater parking lots. They've also hit up neighborhoods around Lee, Dougherty and Mitchell counties.
"One guy would drive. The other individuals would get out of the car and walk through the neighborhoods checking for unlocked vehicles," said Vick.
The thieves would use a pick to break the windows of locked vehicles, making away with thousands of dollars in stolen goods. "This shotgun right here is valued at $600," said Vick.
Authorities are happy to get some of the items back and the guns out of the wrong hands.
"It's a good feeling to get these guns off the streets. Albany feels great about it , Dougherty County, Lee County, Leesburg. It's just a good feeling to get everything out of the streets and out of the hands it doesn't need to be in the hands of," said Investigator Freelon Gay with the Lee County Sheriff's Office.
They say more arrests are coming which means more stolen goods. In the mean time, police say people can prevent becoming victims.
"Lock your vehicles. Make sure you lock your vehicles. Make sure you don't leave anything out in the open that they can see. The best place to put it is in the trunk," said Vick.
That way your hard earned possessions don't end up taken away by crooks.
Police will not release the names or pictures of the arrested suspects as more arrests are pending.