Mar. 17—Twenty men have been indicted on charges of stealing or damaging over $1.35 million worth of property in a string of commercial burglaries across the state, including five alleged burglaries in Cobb during 2016.
While the investigation that eventually tied the string of burglaries together originated in Floyd County, the charges — which are being prosecuted under the state racketeering statute — stem from crimes across northern and middle Georgia.
Most of the entries were done in one of two methods: cutting a hole in the wall of the store with a sledgehammer and concrete saw or using a crowbar to break in through the front door.
"The enterprise burgled various businesses utilizing a crowbar crew and sledgehammer crew," the indictment filed in Floyd County Superior Court states. "Each associate of the enterprise had a certain role, but these roles were interchangeable amongst the associates and incidents depending on the needs of the enterprise."
The indictment cites five incidents in Cobb County, all but one being committed during August of 2016. The fifth incident stems from Oct. 31 of that year.
The Cobb burglaries occurred on the following dates and locations:
— August 8: 4160 Cherokee Street, Kennesaw
— August 21: 27 Golf Crest Drive, Acworth
— August 27: 4000 Frey Road, Kennesaw
— August 27: 5345 Floyd Road, Mableton
— Oct. 31: 4725 Atlanta Road, Smyrna
The case began after a series of burglaries in Floyd County, all of which followed an almost identical pattern. Floyd County Police Capt. Brandon Robinson, who headed up the year-long investigation, reached out to surrounding counties to see if they had similar cases. They did.
Soon they began to find break-ins using similar methods throughout the state, over 160 of them from December 2015 to 2017, according to the indictment. They range from as far north as Catoosa County, to as far south as Tifton.
Robinson said earlier that a task force was formed and the defendants, members of several street gangs, were all from the Oakland City neighborhood in southwest Atlanta.
Terry Wheeler, Travis Tucker, TeCorey Johnson, Rahmon Cain, Quinton Tucker, Mario Pass, Larry Johnson, Labrinzo Matthews, Justin Stephens, JePaul Adams, Henrico Hayes, Gary Stephens, Deonta Evans, D'Anthony Brown, Artis Murphy, Marquis Brooks, Narraton Brooks, Jamarqua Cephus, Cavario Major and Horace Jenkins all face RICO and burglary charges.
Many of the men were arrested in 2017 and 2019 in other parts of the state and then transported to Floyd County Jail and released on bond.
The multi-district case is being prosecuted by the Floyd County District Attorney's Office.