Armed robberies part of gang initiation - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Armed robberies part of gang initiation

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April 19, 2007

Bainbridge--  A joint effort between the GBI and investigators from Decatur, Miller, Early and Calhoun counties put two Early county men behind bars.  

Investigators say thirty-two-year-old Gregory Williams and eighteen-year-old Harry Wright, Jr. have ties to a local gang.

Less than a week ago, a cashier at Mr. Pips convenience store in Bainbridge was staring down the barrel of a 9 milimeter gun, as the lone gunman robbed the register.   "Deprived her of her freedom while he gathered the cash and then made off with it," said Lt. Chip Nix, an investigator with the Decatur County Sheriff's Office.

Mr. Pips was not the first hit in the string of armed robberies throughout the area, all under similar circumstances.  In one incident just down the road in Colquitt, a cashier was shot in the hand. 

"We got together with the surrounding sheriff's office, compared notes. All of us worked kind of together on this thing," said Nix.  Authorities have been working the case for several weeks.

Late Wednesday night, they finally got a break.   "Early county got behind a vehicle, stopped it recovered a Larson 9milimeter handgun that fit the description of the one used in the robbery. Also there were 2 black males in the vehicle," Nix said.

Harry Wright, Jr.  and Gregory Williams were arrested.  On the suspects, investigators found a key to a motel in Colquitt Georgia.

Surveillance footage from the Bainbridge store allowed investigators to link the clothes the robber is wearing, to identical items found in the motel room.

Investigators say after being arrested, the men confessed to all seven robberies and the shooting.  They told police how and why they did it.  "They would go out and rob the stores for the money and also for the initiation into the gang," Nix explained.

Ties to gang activity is not a total surprise.  Authorities say they've seen a significant increase in gang activity in the area recently.  It's a trend they're working hard to shut down. 

Wright and Williams are charged with armed robbery, kidnapping and false imprisonment and will face additional charges in Miller County for the shooting. The D.A.'s office may also indict the pair on gang related charges.

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