Smash and grab store burglaries in Dougherty County and Albany have been a big crime issue in recent months. Store owners say they are glad these guys were caught and arrested, and hope that will deter other crooks.
Albany and Dougherty County Police busted a burglary ring, with four arrests Tuesday. Officers caught three smash and grab burglars red-handed after they broke into two convenience stores on opposite sides of the city. A fourth suspect was later arrested.
Investigators say they've linked them to more burglaries in other counties and more arrests are possible.
Store surveillance video captures the burglars throwing a concrete block through the front door at the BP #23 store on Gillionville Road about 4:00AM. Three men with towels over their faces and socks on their hands rush in and quickly grab cartons of cigarettes and lottery tickets.
About an hour earlier a very similar break in was pulled at the Stop and Shop on Cordele Road. A round concrete block through the door, and three men grab cigarettes and lottery tickets before speeding off in a white car.
"We did have a witness who observed the vehicle, which is a very good thing in this case," said DCP Sgt. Chad Kirkpatrick.
Quick arriving officers at the Gillionville break in saw that white car driving away and followed it. The suspects tried to drive into the woods at Lockette Station and West Oakridge, crashing, and then ran, but all three were caught by Albany and Dougherty County Police.
"Detectives later interviewed them and were able to find out more information on the burglary at 3900 Gillionville Road as well as several other burglaries. One being another residential burglary," said APD Investigator Darryl Jones.
The stolen cigarettes and other evidence were found in the wrecked car. Dougherty County Police also charged the three with the Stop and Shop burglary. But these burglars are suspected of several other break ins.
"Right now we know of approximately 4 or 5, right now," Jones said. "But we are still investigating to find more. There could be more. Some of the burglaries fit the same M. O. as last night."
"When the community steps up and helps us, a lot of time that's what it takes. We can't do this all by ourselves. It takes the community to help us," Kirkpatrick said.
Investigators say more charges and more arrests are possible, as they continue to look into this burglary ring. A fourth man, 22 year old Kevin Robinson, was arrested this afternoon for False Report of a crime.
That was his white Malibu used in the burglaries, and Robinson tried to report it stolen later. Detectives say the other three suspects are from south Albany and south Dougherty County but are not related.