Among the very first of the street people to come to our attention was Ricky Love- For years this dangerous individual has terrorized the Midtown community with his frightening episodes, and in some cases, with random brutal assaults on people who happen along. After he spontaneously assaulted a woman on Peachtree in 2006, he became a high-priority court watch case for us. We have not had any issues with him since.
Until this week… On Thursday Ricky Love was spotted first on North Avenue, and a short while later at Ponce & Myrtle during lunchtime. Please heed our warning that this individual is very dangerous and irrational, and police must use advanced-level tactics in order to intercept him. If you encounter Ricky Love we implore you to steer well clear of him, and if he approaches you be very attentive as you calmly move to a safer location. If he is having an episode such as the ones in the video call 911 immediately, as this is when he is most imminently dangerous to bystanders and passers-by. Most of the time he will move on within a few minutes, but he is liable to inflict serious injuries at any time. Hopefully we can develop effective long-term measures to protect our community – before someone gets hurt again.
- Pictures and video below. Background notes from his watchlist file also posted below (also available in PDF form).
To bring you up to date on the Ricky Love case, we share with you some items previously published:
1. Narrative on assault 8/21/2006 Sent to MPSA by the victim of the assault on Peachtree
I wanted to bring your attention to a situation that I experienced on August 21st at approximately 4:45pm.
I was heading south on Peachtree St. on the west side of the street and noticed a black male on the sidewalk in front of Gordon Biersch yelling at himself (as no one else was present) and waving his arms around as if he were fighting someone. I continued to walk ahead and decided to just ignore this person, so not to make eye contact or to give him a reason to ask for money or show any aggression towards me.
I was between Spire and Gordon Biersch as the gentlemen walked past me and once he was out of my vision and well to my side and to the back of me started punching me in the head, the neck and the back until I loss my balance and fell over a wire or rope that was used to secure perhaps a newly planted tree. I was fortunate that I didn’t fall in to the street at rush hour.
He walked off as I lay on the ground and no one attempted to go after him and I watched as he turned west on 7th St. He did not steal anything from me nor did he ask me for anything. I reported it to Midtown Blue by phone and then physically walked over there. Officer Kilgore of the APD took my report.
I went back to Midtown Blue the following day to ride around Midtown late afternoon with one of the officer’s to try and identify the attacker. They also took pictures of my bruises at that time. I did identify a black male that was yelling at himself and throwing his arms which happened to be sitting on the sidewalk up against my condo building (Metropolis) and I understand that he was arrested that night.
The next day I received a call from a detective that needed me to try and pick out the attacker from a picture line up, which I did. It was the same person that I id’d in front of Metropolis the previous day.
The attacker, Rick Love, has been charged with aggravated stalking and aggravated battery. He was to go in front of the Grand Jury on Friday, September 1st and was scheduled to be on an All Purpose Calendar the same day. There is a preliminary hearing scheduled for September 7th, not sure of room or time at this point.
Please feel free to share this information with the Safety Committee and other’s. I’m happy to keep you posted on any upcoming hearing dates and further information as it relates to this case and certainly would welcome any and all support from you and other’s in attending any upcoming court dates and hearings.
2. Report from first hearing of Ricky Love (reported in Eye on Midtown in 2006)
- September 14, 2006, before Judge Craig Schwall In Fulton County Superior Court
Ricky Love is accused of assaulting a Midtown female resident as she was walking on Peachtree Street from the Metropolis toward Gordon Biersch. This was an unprovoked attack. He is noted for years of menacing the community with his highly irrational conduct and violent episodes.
This case was discussed in some detail at the Midtown Safety Meeting (the report of which is still forthcoming) on September 11th and the request was made for all who could, to attend his hearing whenever we received notice. A number of people attending the meeting had had personal physical encounters with Ricky Love, or have witnessed some of his frightening episodes. There was lot of talk about how dangerous he is to society. During the discussion, the question was asked many times, “What can we do to get this man off the streets for good?”
The notice of Ricky Love’s first hearing came the day before he had a hearing in Fulton County Superior Court at 9:30 am the very next day! Midtown Neighbors Association and Midtown Ponce Security Alliance both sent out e-blasts announcing the hearing and asking those who could to attend.
Seven people from the Midtown commununity – Kent Hackmann, Dan Weinheimer, Rufus Terrill, Mark Hallenberg, Peggy Denby, Joe Williams, and Steve Gower – attended this hearing.
The Judge had been informed that the neighborhood had sent representatives and they wanted to speak to him directly. When Judge Schwall came to the court room, he very quickly asked who was there from Midtown and we all raised our hands. He then asked for comments. Several court watch attendees all spoke to the court about their threatening, personal encounters with Ricky Love. One explained that this behavior had been going on for a number of years. Peggy Denby and another Midtown spoke about general neighborhood safety concerns and how Ricky Love is a menace to our quality of life.
Judge Schwall then ruled as follows:
- His bond of $52,000 was revoked;
- Ricky Love is obviously a danger to the community, and ordered a psychiatric evaluation
- No further decisions will be made without neighborhood involvement!
- Judge Schwall then asked the neighborhood group to designate a contact person, and it was recorded that Peggy Denby would serve that role.
We believe that we have answered the previous question, “What can we do to get this man of the streets for good?” The answer is: We can do it by appearing in court and giving the Judges the information they need to take people off the streets. The police cannot take people off the street except to arrest them. Affected citizens and victims must come together to do what we did this morning. It appears the court system does not work all that well in that there was very little information in the courtroom this morning specific to Ricky Love other than what we, the affected citizens, offered.
This was a real testament to the power of the people. We went there to protect ourselves and our neighborhood from a very dangerous person. We delivered that message and it was heard. This was only the first hearing for Ricky Love, and more will follow culminating in the trial itself.
After the hearing, two social workers came up to us from Community Friendship. They came to the hearing because of their concern about Ricky Love being allowed back on the streets. We exchanged information and agreed to keep them informed.
3. Article in Sunday Paper [defunct] – publication date estimated late July or early August 2009
Midtown battles the same offenders over and over
- By Patrick Bray and Stephanie Ramage – Sunday Paper
“Unless they are caught with a gun or drugs on them, the judges are not going to do anything and the suspects know that.”—APD officer who spoke on condition of anonymity
Yet another concern is Ricky Love, who is currently in jail after years of terrorizing people in Midtown. The Fulton County Superior Court convicted him in September 2008 for aggravated assault. Love was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment but credited with two years already served in pre-trial detention. The judge suspended the remainder under two conditions: Love must undergo treatment for mental health issues and banishment from Fulton County.
Although crime is down overall in Midtown, according to the MPSA, recidivism remains a constant source of worry. Some residents have seen the same faces in the backs of police cars so often they can identify the offenders and rattle off their rap sheets.
The issue of recidivism is so pressing that Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves showed up at a very heated press conference held by Mayor Shirley Franklin and Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington last week to point out the role that it might be playing in Atlanta’s disturbing crime problem. Eaves said a majority of the occupants of the Fulton County Jail will be re-arrested within three years of their release. He also pointed out that the jail is the metro area’s leading provider of mental health services, since most public mental health resources have been cut over the past few decades. Eaves said he was tired of seeing the mentally ill, substance-addicted, poor and homeless incarcerated.
The MPSA does not cast the blame on Atlanta City Hall or the police department, but on the judges who release the offenders, who then return to Midtown and commit the same crimes again.
“Unless they are caught with a gun or drugs on them, the judges are not going to do anything and the suspects know that,” says one policeman, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Judges typically do not speak to the press, and District Attorney Paul Howard could not be reached for comment. A staffer says the DA’s stable of attorneys were all attending a conference last week.
But, according to Clayton County Juvenile Court Judge Steve Teske, it’s the district attorney—in any court—who has the most control over things like recommending that bail be denied, or offering a plea bargain, two things that often determine whether repeat offenders wind up back on the street. According to Teske, immediate past president of the Council of Juvenile Court Judges of Georgia and former delegate to the assembly of the American Correctional Association representing adult community corrections, most serious crimes in Atlanta are bound over to Fulton County Superior Court from Municipal Court.
At that point, the district attorney would tell the presiding judge why an individual may or may not be a threat to the community. The district attorney, says Teske, has the responsibility to tell the judge whether he would recommend that bail be denied or set high enough to reflect the seriousness of the offense. The idea is to make sure the accused person shows up for trial. Someone who owns no property and has no job is more likely not to show up than someone who has a lot to lose.
“We live in a free society, not a police state. Almost everyone has a right to bail,” says Teske, “or to be bonded out.” Some are released on what is called an “OR” bond—that’s “own recognizance,” which means they don’t pay a dime to be let out. “But, if they are a danger to the community, they can be denied bail or bond.”
It’s during that time between arrest and court date that neighbors may be seeing previously nabbed criminals back in their neighborhoods. That’s also when police may be picking up the offenders for yet another crime.
While some point to jail overcrowding as a culprit, Teske said that really should not figure into a judge’s sentencing equation.
The Fulton County Jail normally holds 2,250 inmates and is one of the largest in the country. But according to Chief Jailer Riley Taylor, because of a jail renovation project currently underway, it holds fewer inmates than usual.
Under the Master Jail Complex Plan, the Fulton County Jail will be expanded to hold 5,035 inmates. Until then, inmates are being outsourced to the DeKalb County Jail, Hall County Jail, and Union City Jail.
Instead of keeping them locked up, Taylor believes the key to stopping repeat offenders is to intervene in their lifestyles of crime, violence and chemical dependency.
“Breaking this cycle would lower crime, reduce the crime effect upon victims, prevent future victims, and enhance overall public safety,” says Taylor. “This is what community policing and crime prevention is all about.” SP
(8/30/14 around 1am) – Good morning and happy Saturday on this holiday weekend. A dramatic crash on Myrtle Street helps to end Summer in Midtown with a bang. This car being followed by police was traveling southbound on Myrtle Street at a very high rate of speed, when the driver lost control at 5th street, swerving off to the leftside sidewalk, skidding across a front yard before turning to its side and coming to rest. According to folks living on that block, it was loud enough to wake the dead. The driver got out of the car and fled the scene – police have not caught him yet. According to unofficial APD sources on the scene, the car was not noted in the system as stolen at that time. The APD crime scene lady came out and dusted the car for prints before it was hauled off to the junkyard. Thankfully nobody was hurt, though the folks at that address sustained considerable damage to their front garden and steps. Channel 2 and Channel 11 were on the scene, so look for news reports with additional information.
Photos and write-up by Steve Gower/MPSA
As you read about these individuals bear in mind that they reflect the need for a good neighborhood patrol program such as ours. We formed the MPSA because we understand that Midtown’s diverse, law-abiding neighbors are entitled to a safe haven in this beautiful and dynamic neighborhood. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could run out of criminals to tell you about? Well, the more patrol hours we can fund, the more effectively we could do that and thereby maximize the safety of this beautiful neighborhood…
This time we took a closer look at Midtown-related burglary and car break-ins perps apprehended by APD this year, and have listed them here – eight individuals in all. We selected these from an internal APD report, obtained through an open records request, listing arrests for car break-ins, and another for burglary suspects in Zone 5. Their mugshots and photos are posted below.
JAMES AVERY BOOKER - Unmarked APD units on routine patrol during the 3am hour spotted a parked car with a suspicious individual, the known street criminal James Avery Booker, leaning inside a parked vehicle. The officers wrote in the incident report that Booker attempted to flee when they reached the car, and that a brief struggle ensued. Given Booker’s attempt to flee and seeing that the car had been ransacked, they contacted the owner living nearby. The owner confirmed that Booker was not known to him and certainly did not have permission to be rummaging through his car. Police also noted in the report that Booker had on his person change that had been taken from the vehicle, which was returned to the owner of the vehicle.
Booker has been on our watchlist for quite some time. In 2012 he was caught breaking into a car on Seal Place. Before that, we had already received reports of him trespassing and soliciting for money in the parking lots of area businesses. He was staying in the Ponce Hotel whenever we had these problems with him. His rapsheet at the Georgia Department of Corrections shows five previous prison stints, and the Fulton County jail has booked him 18 times. Dekalb County has also had some issues with him, plus there have been other bookings in the City of Atlanta jail. APD sources note 68 prior arrests in all for various offenses – multiple sexual assault cases, false imprisonment, kidnapping, entering auto, and burglary.
In the weeks leading up to the latest car break-in arrest he had been camping in various places along Ponce – this confirms our long-standing observation that whenever these kinds of criminals hang around ianother Midtown resident will be victimized sooner or later. But thankfully he remains in jail on charges of Entering Automobile and Obstruction. The Criminal Code of Georgia calls for imprisonment of one to five years.
ART SETTLES - During the 1am hour on 7/14/2014 APD responded to a call about someone breaking into a car near Myrtle & 10th. Observant neighbors walking their dog noticed another neighbor’s cardoor open, and upon further inspection noticed the suspect’s legs hanging out of the vehicle as he rummaged through it. One of the good neighbors stayed with the vehicle while the other went to alert the owner. The suspect, Art Settles, then picked up a two-foot long piece of wood and held it in a batter’s position and threatened the neighbor. Then the other neighbor and the owner of the car came to the scene to keep Settles cornered until police arrived. During that time, Settles repeatedly threatened the residents with a piece of wood. As responding police officers placed Settles into the paddy wagon, he suddenly turned around and assaulted one the officers. The officer sustained a swollen hand but refused medical attention.
Settles was sent off to the Fulton County jail, and was booked on charges of Entering Vehicle, Aggravated Assault, and Obstruction of Law Enforcement Officers. Under the Criminal Code of Georgia Settles could be sentenced to a few years in prison upon conviction, and we hope that the judge in the case will take the opportunity to protect the community accordingly. We will be following this case closely because of the repetitive nature of his crimes. Settles has been on our watchlist since a rash of car break-ins and burglaries in 2009. Fulton County jail records show 28 bookings for this offender. He has also been in prison 12 times over the last 30 years.
ROBERT HOWARD - Is currently in Montgomery State Prison. In May a neighbor on 6th Street observed him breaking into a car belonging to someone visiting from out of town. Police responded immediately and captured this criminal while he was still in the area. When police apprehended him, he refused to reveal his name, but the arresting officer summoned an ID technician to the scene with a fingerprint scanner, and immediately determined who this individual was. He was taken to the Fulton County jail, and was eventually convicted and sent to prison until May of 2017. Parole board records do not show a tentative parole date, so we will be watching his status. Howard landed a spot on our watchlist as a result of a car break-in in October 2010, and we wrote about it in Eye on Midtown. Fulton County sent him away for a year and a half, but this offender continued his life of car break-ins and other criminal activity upon release from prison in April 2012. His rapsheet shows 36 bookings in Fulton County, and five of those were since being released from prison the last time.
HILTON CLARK - On 4/23/14 Zone 5 officers in an unmarked vehicle spotted Hilton Clark leaning inside of a vehicle on Myrtle Street near 8th. These officer immediately intercepted the criminal, who could not give the name of the owner or where they lived. Running the vehicle information yielded the identity of the owner, who advised that this individual did not have permission to be in her vehicle. She also told the officers that the inside had been disturbed from how she left it earlier, and that change was missing. The officers returned her change, and took the individual to jail for his 17th booking at the Fulton County jail. He remains there as of this writing. Our research shows that this offender has many priors for various offenses including burglary and car break-ins, and has had several incarceration periods in Georgia.
ANTHONY WYATT and LEDERICK WEATHERSPOON - These individuals were caught breaking into a car near 6th & Myrtle in February after an observant neighbor reported them to police during the overnight hours. A foot chase ensued covering several blocks, and police intercepted these two. A third suspect known as “Chico” managed to escape successfully. One of the suspects was tased by police when he would not comply with police orders to hit the ground. When questioned by police, they said they were from the Peachtree-Pine shelter, and that this is where they knew this “Chico” from. They were released from jail the next day.
OGBURUCHI UMACHI - was arrested on 5/10/2014 for breaking into a car on Ponce (the address traces back to Krispy Kreme). About five weeks later Fulton County released him back into the community on a signature bond. We have seen him around the neighborhood several times since his release from jail in June.
ANTHONY MENDENALL - The only Midtown-related burglar caught this year was Anthony Mendenall. When he struck Midtown this past January, he tried to break into a place on Piedmont. He first rang the doorbell and told the resident through the intercom that he “wanted to stay inside”, but the resident told him to go away. On home security camera the resident watched the criminal at his door take out a small metal object and try to pick the lock. The offender was unfazed by the arrival of the police and continued to try to work the lock until police ordered him to the ground. Once in cuffs, the individual told police that he was going to open the lock, and that “it’s easy, like using a credit card to get into a hotel room.” He also told the officers that he wanted to get inside to take items that he could sell for drugs. He went to jail on charges of Criminal Attempt to Commit Burglary, Possesson of Burglary Tools, and Criminal Trespass. Fulton County only sentenced him to time served and released him back into the community in April. Then in July, in another part of town, he was picked up again after a woman called police about him peeking into her windows. Police intercepted, and found crystal meth in his possession. According to the police report in that case, he “spontaneously uttered” to police that he was “trying to break his habit” and that his mom turned him onto drugs when he was 14.
IMAGES OF THESE CRIMINALS:
Robberies – In our last Eye we promised to bring you the rest of the robbery reports. In all, there were six robberies reported in the MPSA service area during the month of July. Three of those reports showed a striking pattern of a trio robbing people and then fleeing in a car. Another was a situation where a woman returned to her car at a shopping center and found someone in her car, with a female in a nearby getaway car. And in one of the incidents the victim, previously convicted of prostitution, told police that he got into the car with the culprit who robbed him a few blocks down the street. The other was previously reported in Eye on Midtown, a situation where the offender robbed a patron leaving an establishment at 10th & Piedmont. The summaries are below.
Burglaries – Police took reports on three burglaries in the MPSA service area during the month of July. In two of them, the burglars got into a garage or accessory building but not into the main part of the house. The third one happened in a large apartment building on 10th Street. We have posted the report summaries below as well.
Car break-ins – The crime mapping feature at the APD website shows 24 car break-ins in the service area during the month of July. We have posted a map below showing the distribution of car break-ins at the web version of this post. By a very wide margin car break-ins present the most chronic among criminal offenses perpetrated not only against the Midtown community, but other places around town as well. We once again remind residents and visitors to keep their car clean of any visible goods, even change or other small items.
ROBBERY REPORT SUMMARIES – based on the official police reports in the respective cases.
10th & Piedmont | Incident Number:142000535 | 07/19/2014, 4am hour
- At 4:15am an individual flagged down an officer to report that he had been robbed at knifepoint of $20 while inside the vehicle of the perpetrator. The police report in the case noted that he admitted to voluntarily getting into the car with the individual before he was robbed and discharged near where he contacted the officer. As the officer was taking the information, the individual claiming to have been robbed pointed to a vehicle matching the description of the one who robbed him as it drove by in the distance. The officer then returned to his squad car in an attempt to intercept the alleged offender’s vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed, but it had disappeared in the heavy rain before he got around the corner. When police asked him why he was walking around in a parking lot where he supposedly made first contact with the alleged robber, he replied that he had “been walking around all night,” and the report further noted that parking lot was in an area “known for prostitution.”
10th & Argonne | Incident Number:141940168 | 07/13/2014, 1am hour
- Three suspects in a car
- As a couple was walking along in the 10th & Argonne area around 1am, two black males in dark clothing approached them and demanded one of the victim’s purse at gunpoint. The victim refused, and the suspects backed off when a vehicle drove by. They believe the attempted robbers got into that vehicle, which then headed east on 10th Street. Though the men did not get anything, police gave the victims a courtesy ride to their home because they feared the men would return.
931 Monroe Drive | Incident Number:141910387 | 07/10/2014, 3am hour
- Three suspects in car
- While a police officer was in an personal vehicle in another part of the parking lot, the victim pulled into the lot and began texting outside of his vehicle. Because employees of the various businesses come to work around that time of day, the officer did not think anything of it. Another vehicle with two males pulled up and robbed the victim at gunpoint. From the officer’s vantage point it was not clear what was happening – he only saw the victim’s hands sticking up with the two offenders nearby. The victim started yelling for the officer’s attention, and the officer sprang into action. Because the victim was directly in the line of fire, the offenders were able to jump back into their cars and speed away. There were three individuals perpetrating the robbery – the two that got out of the vehicle, and the driver who stayed in the vehicle the whole time. The victim said the two getting out of the car each had a handgun. Because the officer was in his personal vehicle, he did not have the blue lights and sirens, and markings needed to pursue the offending vehicle. They only got the victim’s cell phone, but unfortunately it did not have tracing enabled on the device.
181 10th Street | Incident Number:141882913 | 07/08/2014, 11pm hour
- [Previously reported by MPSA] Suspect Cornelius Wallace – was arrested as a suspect in robbery incident near the 10th & Piedmont intersection. According to the police report, the victim has just left a bar at 10th & Piedmont and was headed to the Midtown MARTA station, when the suspect later identified as Cornelius Wallace, and another unidentified individual approached him and asked for a cigarette. When the victim refused, Wallace allegedly whipped out a knife and demanded his money. The victim told police that Wallace then grabbed money from his pocket, which was apparently visible. The other suspect then demanded a shirt that the victim was holding. Police responding to the call drove the victim around the area in search of the suspects, and found Wallace loitering a couple blocks east in front of Piedmont Park. Wallace was arrested but police did not recover the knife used in the robbery or the money taken from the victim. Wallace remains in the Fulton County jail with bond set at $50,000. Wallace’s alleged accomplice, described in the police report as a male likely of Middle-Eastern descent, has not been identified and remains out there in the community somewhere…
600 Ponce | Incident Number:141952411 | 07/14/2014, 7pm hour
- A woman returning to her vehicle at a shopping center parking lot discovered the perp inside her vehicle. The crook grabbed her phone and threw it. She was able to get the offender into a headlock, but he escaped in another vehicle where another female was waiting for him. As the offenders’ vehicle sped off, the victim managed to kick a dent into its side.
9th & Myrtle | Incident Number:141850130 | 07/04/2014, 12am hour
- Three suspects in car
- During the midnight hour the victim was walking to the 10th & Piedmont area when a black SUV occupied by three males pulled up to him at 9th & Argonne. Two of the males exited the vehicle and robbed him at gunpoint. The assailants made off with his wallet and iPhone, fleeing in said vehicle southbound on Argonne.
BURGLARY REPORT SUMMARIES – based on the official police reports in the respective cases.
Lakeview Avenue | Incident Number:142121639 | 7/31/2014, 7am to 1pm
- The homeowner received a call from his alarm company, and he went home to investigate. He found two windows to his workshop in an outbuilding had been pried open. It appeared that an unidentified criminal had rummaged through the workshop, but the homeowner could not discern that anything was taken. The victim told the officer that he would have to look more closely when time permitted, but the police report does not show any follow-up.
Near 5th & Piedmont | Incident Number:141952188 | 07/14/2014, between 8am and 4pm
- Victim came home and found that someone entered a garage sometime during his absence that day, and stole a bicycle. Apparently a neighbor sharing the garage did not close the door.
In a Nutshell:
During the month of June the MPSA Patrol made one arrest, assisted with or intercepted 21 calls for service via 911, and took another 22 calls for service directly from members. 14 members made use of the vacation checks, and the patrol logged 134 hours.
Highlights from the patrol logs:
- The patrol found that a suspicious individual prowling around on 9th Street turned out to be a wanted criminal in another jurisdiction, and arrested him immediately.
- Sgt. Cooper worked with a business owner on Ponce to remove a chronic vagrant who had built a wooden shack out of pallet material behind the business. The individual was served a Criminal Trespass warning, and the business removed these pallets to prevent further incursions by other people.
- Sgt. Cooper responded to a 911 alarm call on Durant. An open door was found.
- Sgt. Cooper went out with Code Enforcement regarding a problematic property in the neighborhood.
- Sgt. Cooper and Sgt McGinnis followed up on case of multiple car break-ins occurring at once. They worked with the property manager and and an APD investigator.
- Sgt. Cooper met with a resident on Penn regarding vagrants using the area between houses and under back porches. They discussed security measures to address this.
- Sgts. Cooper and McGinnis secured several packages for members out-of-town and performed the usual out-of-town checks.
- Sgt. Cooper placed 5-day notice stickers on two problem vehicles. Both vehicles were moved before the notice of removal expired.
We also have some crime prevention and personal safety tips for you:
- Trim that shubbery! It is late into the summer, and we may not have noticed how much the shubbery has grown. Shrubbery is a burglar’s friend when not maintained because it can conceal the view of your home. Make sure all windows and doors are visible from the street, and leave no room for concealment. Also trim up from the bottom so that feet can be seen from the street and/or the edge of the property.
- While out shopping, be sure to lock your car and do not leave valuables in plain sight. When returning to the car check inside to make sure nobody is waiting for you in the back seat or the luggage compartment (of an SUV).
- Get the best security camera system you can afford for your home. These have been instrumental in solving crimes in the area. The assault on the bicyclist in Piedmont Heights was solved in large part because someone’s home security camera captured the vehicle used in the assault – as a result police were reasonably certain of the kind of car they were looking for. Home security cameras were also instrumental in solving a home invasion on 9th Street, leading to a conviction because of camera footage going viral.
- If you see something that looks suspicious call 911 and let a trained officer investigate the situation. You do not have to wait until a crime occurs if you feel uneasy. If there is nothing untoward taking place then the person will be interviewed briefly and allowed to go on their way. Reporting suspicious people effectively communicates that vigilant and obervant neighbors will not hesitate to report activity out of line.
Midtown’s 12th annual National Night Out block party was held Tuesday night August 5th at Myrtle & 5th. The MNA co-sponsored the party with MPSA. The event was a huge success with an attendance of around 250 residents. Major Whitmaire, the Zone 5 commander, and several other APD officers were in attendance. Sgt. Cooper and Officer Powell who work for MPSA helped with traffic control and talked to our many members. Residents had an opportunity to meet and talk representatives from APD, The Atlanta Fire Department, and the Fulton County DA’s office.
A great time was had by all as we made a strong statement about our commitment to making Midtown a safer neighborhood. Zaxby’s on Ponce was a big supporter as were the two Target stores in Buckhead. Mary Mac’s continued the tradition of supplying their famous peach cobbler which was gone before the night was through.
If you were there we might have a picture of you! Check out the gallery below…
As you read about these individuals bear in mind that they are among the many reasons our neighborhood needs a good patrol program. We formed the MPSA because we understand that Midtown’s diverse, law-abiding neighbors are entitled to a safe haven in this beautiful and dynamic neighborhood. The more patrol hours we can fund, the more effectively we can ensure the safety of our beautiful neighborhood.
Cornelius Wallace – was arrested as a suspect in robbery incident near the 10th & Piedmont intersection. According to the police report, the victim has just left a bar at 10th & Piedmont and was headed to the Midtown MARTA station, when the suspect later identified as Cornelius Wallace, and another unidentified individual approached him and asked for a cigarette. When the victim refused, Wallace alledgedly whipped out a knife and demanded his money. The victim told police that Wallace then grabbed money from his pocket, which was apparently visible. The other suspect then demanded a shirt that the victim was holding. Police responding to the call drove the victim around the area in search of the suspects, and found Wallace loitering a couple blocks east in front of Piedmont Park. Wallace was arrested but police did not recover the knife used in the robbery or the money taken from the victim. Wallace remains in the Fulton County jail with bond set at $50,000. Wallace’s alleged accomplice, described in the police report as a male likely of Middle-Eastern descent, has not been identified and remains out there in the community somewhere…
Isis Santos (also known as Isis Monroe) - On June 4th, 2014 around 1:00am, Zone 5 undercover officers were conducting conducting surveillance on the street prostitutes and drug pushers in the area. According to the police report in the case they watched Isis Santos handing crack cocaine to another individual, Lavon Garrison. The officers then alerted other police units via radio to intercept both suspects. At that point Santos was found at 3rd & Piedmont, and placed under arrest. A search of Santos’ purse turned up several baggies of crack cocaine inside pill bottles. Santos was charged with Violation of the Georgia Controlled Substance Act with Intent to Distribute, and placed into the Fulton County jail where he remains as of this writing. We will court-watch Santos given his role in the drug activity and street prostitution that continue to afflict that part of the neighborhood.
Lavon Garrison, the other suspect from the above incident with Isis Santos, had headed south on Juniper Street from where the undercover officers reported seeing him receive the crack cocaine. The police report further noted that Garrison attempted to throw the baggie onto the ground as the officers intercepted him. He was charged with simple possession.
Armaine Britt – Armaine Britt, among the most chronic of the prostitute group, has been in prison since last year. We recently discovered that he was given a tentative parole date of August 2014 for a full sentence running until August 2015. Because we do not exactly need any more prostitutes coming into our neighborhood, we sent a parole opposition letter. By doing this we wish to make it clear that we we will continue to track and report on those engaging in criminal activity. We share with you a copy of the parole opposition letter.
Mark White – another chronic prostitute appearing almost daily at 3rd & Piedmont, was arrested recently for battery after striking a Midtown resident with a hand held mirror. The act of coming into our neighborhood with criminal intent (drugs and prostitution) is, in itself, an act of aggression toward the Midtown community. He bonded out of the Fulton County jail within 48 hours of being arrested.
Enoch Prince (aka “Disco”) and Jimmy Lockett (aka “Shoeshine”) – On 7/02/2014 police responded to a call regarding a snatch theft. According to the police report, the victim left his wallet at his table when he went to pick up his food at the counter. Upon further investigation, security cameras at the establishment clearly showed Prince walking up the victim’s table to take his wallet, and then leave the store. A short time later, Jimmy Lockett “returned” the wallet to the customer minus $400 cash and a check. During a detailed investigation of the incident, Prince was confronted with video evidence, and told police at that point that he had handed the wallet off to Lockett who took the money. Warrants were taken out on both of them for Burglary in the 2nd Degree (a technicality in that it means simply entering a place for the purpose of committing a crime) and Theft by Taking. By the time the warrants were put out, Jimmy Lockett was already in jail on an unrelated charge. Prince was picked up near Ponce & Boulevard.
By now most people have seen “Disco” panhandling at Ponce & Monroe. He has been a nuisance to the area for many years, and his presence exemplifies the Broken Windows theory in that it contributes to an atmosphere of disorder at that intersection that promotes further criminal activity for the community. He chronically appears in jail logs for offenses ranging from minor ones like Criminal Trespass, Disorderly Conduct, and Panhandling, to more serious issues like Theft (including Auto Theft), Drugs, Terroristic Threats, and Obstruction. He remains in jail on a $7500 bond as of this writing.
Jimmy Lockett is a chronic vagrant who has been a nuisance in the area since being released from prison last year on a number of serious convictions. He typically rides around on a bicycle day and night, and has been seen in a wide area including Midtown, Virginia Highland, Ansley Park, and Piedmont Heights. He has been booked 34 times into the Fulton County jail alone – this does not include additional bookings into the city jail or elsewhere.
Jeff Reese – On 7/12/2014 APD received a call regarding a trespassing male at a business on Ponce. According to the police report, a male later identified as Jeff Reese was loitering around, harassing customers and begging for money from them. When police intercepted him, he “threw a clear glass cylinder commonly used to smoke crack” onto the ground and crushed it with his foot. He was not only served with a Criminal Trespass Warning at the business, but was arrested for Disorderly Conduct (Littering). MPSA has been monitoring Reese since 2008,when he alledgedly burglarized a home on Greenwood Avenue. He was apprehended the next day in a burglary incident in Brookhaven, and found with items taken in the Greenwood burglary the day before. Dekalb County sentenced him to ten years, but he was paroled last year. Since then he has been in and out of jail several times, and occasionally crops up at Ponce & Boulevard.
We are pleased to add two names to the prison watch list
Kenneth Lamb – Lamb has been incarcerated again for failure to register as a sex offender, and is showing a max date of 5/26/2016. As of this writing no tentative parole date has been set by the parole board but we will monitor this closely. He previously served 20 years for rape,and then turned to street drugs afterwards. He was later sentenced to additional prison time for a terroristic threats charge, and maxed out in December 2013. Three days later he was booked into the Fulton County jail for a probation violation, and has been in and out of jail since. We began tracking him when a pattern of menacing conduct in and around the neighborhood came to our attention, and have closely monitored him since. He continues to be one of our most successful and proactively pursued court watch cases.
Tommy McGuire – The Department of Corrections shows a primary offense as being Cocaine with intent to distribute, with a max date of 6/07/2017. The Parole Board has not yet set his tentative parole month. McGuire worked out of the Ponce Hotel “managing” girls, whom he shuttled in a mini-van to Fulton Industrial Boulevard and then came back for them later. He was also behind a good share of the drug activity flowing through the Ponce Hotel into the surrounding area.
During the month of June the MPSA Patrol made three arrests, assisted with or intercepted 17 calls for service via 911,and took another 10 calls for service directly from members. 12 members made use of the vacation checks, and the patrol logged 137 hours.
Some highlights from the patrol logs:
- Sgt. Cooper responded to multiple business and resident complaints regarding lane closures on Ponce in the Ponce City Market area. According to one resident the law enforcement officers were standing around and not directing traffic. Sgt. Cooper contacted GDOT about permits and met with GDOT and tried to help the officers with the lane closures. One officer was put at Ponce & Glen Iris during the lunch hour rush which helped traffic.
- Sgt Cooper responded to a call for a Motor Scooter stolen at Durant & 5th. It was located on Mentelle about 20 minutes later.
- Sgt Cooper issued a criminal trespass warning to an Eastern European woman with a baby begging at a shopping center on Ponce. He later discovered she also had been issued a criminal trespass warning for another nearby property on Ponce. This is obviously a scam.
- Sgt McGinnis worked with a resident on Penn on issues affecting that area.
- Sgt Cooper investigated reports of vagrant activity at a vacant property on Piedmont. Bedding found on the property was waterlogged and thus appeared to be abandoned. This house is at added risk because of the prostitutes in the immediate area.
The crime mapping feature at the Atlanta Police website shows an alarming spike in robberies, and with it a concentration around the 10th & Piedmont intersection. APD only has partial crime information on July-to-date, but so far there have been six counts of robbery in and immediately around the MPSA service area. Four of those were within a block of 10th & Piedmont.
We have yet to order reports for most of the July robberies and then to process them, but we have compiled a digest of edited narratives for robberies occurring on the MPSA beat since April 1st into the first week of this month. You can read those in the narratives digest. We will advise via Facebook when we get the rest of them for July.
In reviewing the report narratives, we find that more or less the same tendencies apply as our findings spelled out in our report last year. We therefore like to remind people to be aware of surroundings especially when walking late at night – anywhere. As we have pointed out in our Prepared & Protected series, your first line of defense consists of awareness and (early) recognition of trouble.
Update 7/16/14: This criminal has been CAPTURED. Atlanta Police arrested him on 7/15/14.
WANTED FOR ARMED ROBBERY.
- Warrant #EW-0119273
- Pedro Soto, also known as Orlando Hernandez and Roberto Aguilar, and known on the street as “The Cuban.”
- Atlanta Police report number # 141762905
According to the Atlanta Police, the most notorious fix-your-car scammer has escalated into the disable-your-car robber. For a long time this guy would disable people’s cars and then charge them to fix the car. Atlanta Police have now reported that he disabled someone’s car in the 400 block of Ponce, and then robbed the victim at gunpoint of cash and credit cards. He is known to have been accomodated at Peachtree-Pine, and frequents the Ponce area (both sides of the Beltline).
If you see him around or know his whereabouts:
- presume him to be armed & dangerous,
- report him to 911 with above warrant info.
Below are some mugshots:
Update: Robbery Report Narratives from latest incident