18 suspected burglars nabbed in Americus - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

18 suspected burglars nabbed in Americus

Posted: Updated:

AMERICUS (WALB) - Two high powered rifles are off the streets of Americus and in the hands of police.  Stolen during a recent burglary,  officers confiscated them and other items swiped from homes in the past few days.

"Of all of the burglaries we've solved in the past two weeks, all but one was an after dark burglary. The rest of them were committed sometime between 8 AM and noon. When the victims come home from lunch they discover their house has been burglarized," said Major Richard McCorkle, Americus Police Dept.

When the burglaries started increasing, the department deployed several different tactics to stop the crooks in their tracks.

"It's an expedient patrol response followed by an intense investigative response. On at least two of these cases, the community has been partnered up with us," said interim Americus Police Chief Mark Gerbino.

So far the investigation has led to the arrests of 18 suspects. Nearly half of them, police say, are juveniles.

"Some of them were supposed to be in school. The majority of them arrested lately are not in school. They're between 15 and 16 years old and they either dropped out of school or are under suspension," said McCorkle.

The arrest of the one of the suspects, Vershard Lockhart, led officers to Demetrie Leverrette who was found in possession of two containers of marijuana. Detectives say the suspects aren't working together in one ring, but are separate rogue burglary teams.

"This movement of arrests were little clusters of burglary suspects - 4 or 5 suspects working together. The only way to get after that is to get out on the street pursue them and put enough probable cause and evidence together and put them in jail," said Gerbino.

Undercover officers have been deployed on the streets to monitor neighborhoods for burglars. Along with those guns, detectives say the hot items are flat screen TV's and video games.

Police expect to make more arrests.

They believe about a half dozen other people were involved in the crimes.

Copyright 2011 WALB.  All rights reserved.