UPDATE: Reward offered in Lee Co. burglary turned shooting

GBI on the scene of Lee Co. robbery turned shooting

LEESBURG, GA - (WALB) - A Lee County man is in critical condition after he was shot early Sunday morning on Stapleton Drive by two suspected car thieves, who are still on the run.

On Wednesday, a reward was offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the culprits. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and the Southwestern Judicial Circuit District Attorney announced that up to $25,000 is available for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for this shooting on May 2, 2021.

Marie Watkins has lived on Stapleton Drive since 2005. She says she heard suspicious noises but didn’t think too much of it.

“My husband and I were sleeping and we heard this noise, so we got up and I was looking around to make sure no one was breaking into our neighbors’ vehicles,” Watkins said. “I didn’t see anything, but I saw a car go up the road and I thought, well, somebody is leaving. We didn’t think nothing about it.”

Stapleton Drive, Lee County
Stapleton Drive, Lee County (Source: WALB)

Lee County Sheriff’s Office deputies said security video shows the two suspects driving in separate vehicles.

According to investigators, the two tried to break into several cars off Creekside and Sandy Beach Drives before going to Stapleton. That’s where they tried to break into an unidentified homeowner’s house and car.

That homeowner confronted them, resulting in a shootout that deputies say ended with the homeowner in the hospital.

Omanie Miles has lived in the neighborhood for decades and said attempted break-ins like this have happened to that homeowner before.

“He’s lived here for nearly 20 years and the same people keep trying to break into his house,” Miles said. “A few months ago they stole his truck, stole some guns, and then further down the neighborhood there have been multiple car break-ins.”

She says now, she’s fed up.

“We’ve been wanting to move out of this neighborhood anyway because there’s been break-ins, even in the past,” she said.

Terry Masters has also lived in this neighborhood for 20 years, and always felt safe until now.

“Right now, my husband and I are concerned about what’s going on in the neighborhood and I feel like we should get together and have a neighborhood watch,” Masters said. “At least if we saw strange acts in the neighborhood, we can get in touch with everyone through a text. At least that would give everyone a heads up.”

Neighbors said this is the second shooting in the area in the last six weeks.

If you have any information, please contact: the Lee County Sheriff’s Office: 229-759-6012, GBI Office: 229-931-2439, the GBI TIPS Line: 1-800-597-TIPS (8477), or the GBI On-Line: https://gbi.georgia.gov/submit-tips-online .

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