Burglary thwarted by tracking device

by Wes Mayer

Seven men, five of them from Michigan, were arrested Saturday after their suspected burglary of a Verizon Wireless store was foiled by a tracking device in one of the stolen phones.

At 3:28 a.m., officers Bradley Thompson, Scott Carl, Kevin Black and Daniel Poole responded to the Verizon Wireless store at 191 Newnan Crossing Bypass to check on a burglary alarm with multiple activations. According to Thompson, when officers arrived, they saw a back door had been propped open with a chair, and when they entered the store, they found merchandise scattered all over the floor.

Officers notified Sgt. Chris Reese, who was en route northbound on Newnan Crossing Bypass, that the alarm was in fact a burglary, and shortly after, Reese spotted two vehicles, a black Chevrolet TrailBlazer and a blue Dodge Caravan, speeding southbound past Atlanta Fitness. Reese then turned around to pursue the two vehicles, and 911 dispatchers notified him a tracking device had been activated and was traveling southbound on Newnan Crossing Bypass.

Reese called for assistance from the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia State Patrol, and dispatchers told officers the vehicle with the tracking device turned and was traveling east on Lower Fayetteville Road. Reese also turned onto Lower Fayetteville and was able to catch up to the TrailBlazer, which had a Michigan tag, and pull it over. Only the driver was inside the vehicle, later identified as Jacqua Dewayne Jennings, 20, from Detroit.

After stopping Jennings, though, 911 dispatchers told officers the tracking device was still moving and traveling north on Newnan Crossing Boulevard. Officer Nathan McNamara arrived at the traffic stop, so Reese got back into his squad car and continued the pursuit of the Caravan.

McNamara checked the TrailBlazer for any obvious stolen items and found nothing, so he let Jennings go and followed after Reese, Thompson said.

Reese caught up to the Caravan on Newnan Crossing Boulevard, and with the help of 911 dispatchers, he was able to confirm the tracking device was indeed inside the vehicle. Reese activated his blue lights to pull the Caravan over, and a sheriff’s deputy arrived and pulled in front of the vehicle, blocking it in. The driver of the Caravan, however, accelerated, drove around the deputy and continued north to Bullsboro Drive.

The Caravan then made a left onto Bullsboro, running the red light and heading toward the interstate, according to Thompson. Reese was right behind, though, and was preparing to line up for a pursuit intervention maneuver when the Caravan abruptly swerved to the left and collided with him. Reese then pushed the Caravan to the left, and the vehicles came to a stop in the median near the northbound I-85 entrance ramps.

Numerous Newnan officers and county deputies converged on the vehicle, and five of the Caravan’s six occupants attempted to flee on foot – the driver, Marquie Dominique Austin, 22, from Detroit, remained in his seat. Officers managed to take four of the five other suspects into custody within sight distance of the Caravan, Thompson said, but one suspect, David Harold Richbow, 18, of Stone Mountain, managed to escape.

Officers found the suspected stolen Verizon merchandise inside the Caravan, and Sgt. David Schrepfer and evidence technician Investigator Thomas Lanyi were called to the scene. Officers also discovered that the TrailBlazer stopped earlier on Lower Fayetteville was also registered to Austin, the driver of the Caravan, so Jennings also became a suspect.

The five men: Austin; Deangelo Adrian Minter, 25, of Detroit; Terrell Lamont Franklin, 29, of Cartersville; Deallante Patrick Hightower, 24, of Sterling Heights, Mich.; and Lyndon Alan McDuffie, 28, of Detroit, were all taken into custody and transported to the Coweta County Jail.

While waiting for a wrecker to arrive for the Caravan, Reese happened to see the suspected TrailBlazer enter onto the northbound entrance ramp, Thompson said, so he immediately got into his squad car to stop the vehicle. Jennings was then taken into custody, and transported to the Coweta County Jail – during this trip, he complained of a gunshot wound in his shoulder he sustained in Detroit.

Around 8 a.m., Officer Scott Kilgore and other Newnan officers were able to locate and apprehend the final suspect, Richbow, at the Villas at Newnan Crossing apartment complex. He was also transported to the Coweta County Jail.

All seven men were charged with burglary in the second degree, and because Minter, Franklin, Hightower, McDuffie and Richbow attempted to flee officers on foot, they were each charged with obstruction. Austin was not charged with obstruction, but was charged with felony fleeing and attempting to elude officers for the brief car chase. Jennings was only charged with burglary in the second degree.

Managers of the Verizon Wireless store were unable to determine how much merchandise was stolen, but video from the store, traffic cameras and county deputies’ dash cameras were requested for the investigation.



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