A trail of discarded candy wrappers led to nine people being arrested by the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office for allegedly burglarizing homes in Newnan.
Deputies told Channel 2′s Bryan Mims that bag of Milky Way candy bars was critical to solving the case. They say the trail of wrappers led them right to a group of people they believe were responsible for several burglaries.
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The incidents occurred over the course of three days in early October.
One of the incidents occurred on Oct. 4, when deputies were called to a home on Thomas Way about a possible burglary.
Once deputies arrived, the victim stated that he left his home around 6 a.m., and when he returned at 2 p.m., he noticed his truck was moved into the garage.
When the victim went inside his home, he found a maroon Carhartt beanie on the kitchen counter that wasn’t his and noticed some of his items missing, the incident report stated. The victim also said that he noticed someone tried to pull his dining room A/C unit out.
A victim, who did not want to be identified, told Mims that he came home and “everything was basically turned upside down.”
He says the burglars made off with his clothes, four guns, ammo, a chainsaw, anxiety pills. They even stole the bag of Milky Ways from his refrigerator.
“During our walk on trails through the woods, he was able to point out some of the wrappers. And when he found one wrapper, we were able to walk a little bit further and find another wrapper. And so on and so forth. And it just formed a trail, and it showed us exactly where the individuals had walked,” investigator Christian Spinks said.
The trail led them to the Shady Oaks Mobile Home Park where the suspects lived.
Investigators later learned that the suspects would allegedly use the woods as a shortcut to get to and from the homes.
Authorities said they would stash the stolen items in the woods and use leaves to cover them up.
The suspects also stole food, like orange juice, from several of the victims.
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Coweta County Sheriff’s Office arrested Gerald Bennett, Ryan Murrow, Amber Brooks, Kevin Atkins, Alan Caswell, Brooke Fields and Tracy Hendrix.
Heard County Sheriff’s Office arrested Marvin Rachalla. One juvenile was also arrested.
Deputies in Heard County were able to recover one of the stolen guns and reached out to Coweta County, which was able to link Rachalla with the crime ring.
Deputies say the suspects are responsible for two separate homes being burglarized and five cars being broken into. This is an ongoing investigation with more crimes and arrests possible.
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