Theft ring now linked to crimes across South Georgia - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Theft ring now linked to crimes across South Georgia

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –Investigators say they are shocked at the growing scope of a theft ring busted in Leesburg over the weekend.

Eight young Lee Countians, mostly teenagers,  have been arrested so far.  Investigators say they're tied to dozens of thefts across South Georgia, from Lowndes County to Lee County.

These are some of the stolen items that Leesburg Police and Lee County Sheriff's Deputies recovered from an organized teen theft ring. Since the first members of the ring were busted Sunday night, the number and scope of their thefts across South Georgia has suprised even veteran Investigators.

Leesburg Police Department Sgt. James Vick said "Definitely. Bigger than we ever thought."

20 year old Andrew Odom and 19 year olds Blake Collins, Kenneth Johnson, Justin May and two juveniles are all charged with theft. 19 year old Benjamin Coldinger is being held for theft by receiving, and 19 year old Carrie Sutton for tampering with evidence. Investigators say they were part of an organized theft ring, that started in November breaking into cars at Walmart and the Albany movie theater, but has now been tied to thefts like this motorcycle, cars, and guns in Lee County, Albany, Dougherty County, Mitchell County, Crisp County, and Lowndes County. Thursday law enforcement checked a house on Tenth Street in Albany where the suspects said they sold some of the stolen items.

Lee County Sheriff's Office Sgt. 1st Class Freelon Gay said "Take it over to somebody's house, sell it dirt cheap. Get whatever they can get out of it. Dope. Money. Just whatever they could get their hands on."

Investigators say the teens stole thousands of dollars worth of items, and sold some of them on the streets. Now Lee County law enforcement is asking if you bought items from these teens, to turn it in to them, no questions asked.

Vick said "We are not interested in making arrests. If you thought this stuff was legitimate, we're just interested in recovering for the victims. Get the guns back off the streets."

Leesburg and Lee County law enforcement says more arrests are expected, as the scope of this young theft ring continue to grow.

If you have any of those stolen items or any information about the theft ring call Leesburg Police at 759-6465  or the Lee County Sheriff's Office at 759-6012.

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