Pattern of Home Intrusions

March 31, 2015 · Posted in Eye on Midtown · Comments Off 

WSB-TV ran a story about a home intrusion on 6th Street this past weekend. This was the third such recent incident which has become a pattern of home intrusions in the neighborhood. While these particular offenders do not appear to have acted with serious criminal intentions, these are always very frightening for the residents affected.


Andre Thomas – arrested for intruding into a home on 6th Street

In a late-evening incident this past Saturday, a resident on 6th Street near Durant was at home entertaining guests when suddenly an individual barged into his home asking for money. The resident and his guests had moved from an enclosed patio area to inside, when the subject suddenly walked in through the unlocked patio door. The resident immediately called 911, and then followed the suspect to Ponce de Leon Avenue where he was intercepted by off-duty police officers working an extra job in the area. At online forums other residents on the same block reported attempted intrusions by apparently the same individual very shortly before this incident. The suspect, identified as Andre Thomas, was arrested on misdemeanor charges of Criminal Trespass. Upon researching this individual, we found that he had just been released from prison in Michigan for Burglary. We found no other local booking history on him.


Nathaniel Jenkins – arrested after intruding into a home on 9th Street

In another incident, an elderly man on 9th Street was awakened at 7am by an drunken intruder on a Saturday morning earlier this month (3/14). The victim managed to drive the intruder out of his home with a broom, but when police arrived the intruder was trying to enter a nearby neighbor’s home. The intruder, identified as Nathaniel Jenkins, was promptly arrested on misdemeanor charges of Criminal Trespass, Prowling, and Public Drunkness. Our thorough investigation of his background turned up no other criminal history, and his Facebook profile leads us to believe that this individual had simply been drinking irresponsibly all night long and had no serious criminal intent as he intruded into the victim’s home. Still, the incident left an elderly resident very shaken.


Ricardo Mora-Olivares – arrested after intruding into a home on 4th Street and causing considerable damage.

In our previous Major Incidents report we reported on someone crashing into a home on 4th Street near Charles Allen Drive. During the 2am hour, also on a Saturday into Sunday night, a resident was awakened to the sound of someone banging on the front door and then crashing through his living room window. The resident came downstairs, with his firearm drawn, to find a drunken stranger sitting on his sofa cursing and acting in a boisterous manner. He held the intruder at gunpoint until police arrived. Police arrested Ricardo Mora-Olivares for Criminal Damage To Property In The 2nd Degree and Public intoxication. According to the police report in the case, the suspect told the arresting officer that he had been drinking at a local bar, and that he was just looking for a place to sleep. The victim told police that the suspect inflicted $4200 worth of damage to a front door that he recently installed. The suspect bonded out of jail two days later.



We will monitor these cases and share findings with you because a strong statement needs to be made about intruding into people’s homes – especially in a frightening manner. While the victims were unharmed in these particular incidents, home intruders come with very dangerous (and even deadly) intentions for their victims in many cases. We therefore urge everybody to double-check doors and windows to make sure they are secured – it is very easy to forget doors and windows not frequently opened. Your first line of personal defense lies in making sure unattended doors and windows are securely locked as a matter of habit.

We leave you with a couple of 8-minute personal defense videos covering the possible outcomes to home intrusion situations, and issues surrounding their aftermath.

Major Incidents – January & February

March 10, 2015 · Posted in Eye on Midtown · Comments Off 

We have compiled report summaries for a number of selected incidents occurring in the MPSA service area during the months of January and February. In our research we focus on robberies and burglaries, as these tend to be the most disturbing situations that Midtowners encounter. We also look at other kinds of incidents with an eye toward situation that reflect some kind of hazard to the Midtown community as a whole. Unless explicitly noted, details are attributed to the police report in the given case. 


#150532360 | Piedmont & 6th – On 2/22/2015 during the 9pm hour a woman was robbed at 6th & Piedmont. According to the police report, a black male, about 6 feet in height and of slim build, and wearing beige jumpsuit with dark-colered hoodie, followed her as she walked along 6th Street. Once he got close enough, he brandished a small silver handgun and demanded that she hand over her belongings. The victim dropped her bag and backed away. She noticed another male nearby standing near a small red vehicle parked on Piedmont just above 6th Street. For a short bit she lost visual contact with the two suspects, but both the car and the two suspects were gone when she looked that direction again.

#150513132 | Penn Avenue - On 2/20/2015 Zone 5 officers responded to a pedestrian robbery call in the 600 block of Penn Avenue. The female victim reported that as she parked her car, she was robbed at gunpoint by “two skinny Black males wearing skull caps, black jackets, and black pants.” The suspects pointed a silver revolver at her head and demanded, “give me everything or I will kill you.” At that point she gave them her purse containing her cellphone, cash, credit cards, and other essential items. Police units canvassed the area but did not succeed in apprehending the suspects.

#150471155 | Penn Avenue – In this case the male victim came into the police detachment on 2/16/15 to report that he was robbed at gunpoint a week earlier on Penn Avenue. According to the victim, he left Boogalou Restaurant & Lounge to check on his friend’s vehicle parked in the 600 block of Penn Avenue. The suspect came up on the victim from behind, pointed a black handgun, and said, “Let me have it.” The victim described the suspect as a Black male, about 6’02” in height and of a slim build, with dreadlocks, and wearing a hoodie and jeans. The victim surrendered a cellphone, set of keys, and his wallet containing cash, ID’s, and credit cards. The suspect then ran toward North Avenue.

#150073218 | Ponce & Argonne / 4th & Durant – During the 11pm hour on 1/07/15 police took a robbery report at Ponce & Argonne. The victim, a male cab driver, had picked up two males at Parma Rustic Tavern near the Mall of Georgia. The suspects directed the cab driver to take them to a location off of Ponce, where they attempted to rob him. The suspects told the cab driver to stop at an unfamiliar location, and that they did not have any money to pay the fare, and asked the driver to call a friend of theirs. At the time of reporting the incident the cab driver could not tell police where exactly he was robbed, as he was unfamiliar with the area. As the cab driver looked down at his cell phone to dial, one of the suspects struck him with some kind of hard object, and then demanded that he hand over his money. The cab driver took the keys from the ignition and fled the vehicle, and found his way to Krispy Kreme. According the victim, the first male was a Black male wearing a red and black jacket, and the second suspect was a Hispanic male wearing a black leather jacket and tan pants. Because the victim was unfamiliar with the area, he was unable to tell police at that time where his vehicle was. He was taken to the hospital for the injury sustained (police noted that he was bleeding heavily). After release from the hospital, the victim returned to the area and figured out the exact location where he fled the car and escaped from the robbers. The victim contacted police again to report that the incident had taken place in the 700 block of Durant (this would be close to its intersection with 4th Street). The vehicle was no longer at that location, and it is unknown if the suspects took the vehicle. The victim had fled with only a keyless remote, and the car would have been left running. He was also unsure if the suspects took the phone or if he dropped it somewhere as he fled the vehicle.

#150280920 | Penn & 6th – The male victim came into the police precinct on 1/28/2015 to report having been robbed on New Year’s Eve. He felt at the time that he did not see anything that would be useful in apprehending the suspects, but when he needed to change the OLN number on his driver license he was instructed to produce a police report. The victim reported that as he was walking through the area of Penn & 6th on 12/31/2014 he was approached by three Black males while he was looking at a map in search of his friend’s house. One of the suspects pointed a shotgun at the victim and stated,”Gimme that phone!” A second suspect reached into the victim’s pockets and took the victim’s wallet and keys. The three suspects left in a 2013 red Toyota Camry. The victim sustained no injuries. A few days after the robbery the victim saw a car in the same area very similar to the one from the robbery, and captured the tag number. The police report notes no findings on this tag number.

#150170223 | Monroe & Virginia – On Jan 17, 2015. at 1:21am APD responded to a Pedestrian Robbery call off of Monroe & Virginia Avenue. The first victim, a male, advised that around 1:10am he got into a car with a female friend he was expecting, but found that there were two additional males in the vehicle (the police report did not provide descriptions). He entered the vehicle into the back seat, when one of the unexpected passengers asked to see his cellphone. The victim realized that he needed to return to his building to retrieve something, and requested his phone back. Instead the suspect produced a handgun to rob him. The first victim attempted to flee the vehicle, but was pulled back in by one of the suspects who then searched his pockets and took his wallet. The second victim, a female and the driver of the car, turned around and saw her friend being robbed so she managed to flee the vehicle and hide behind a nearby parked car. The first victim was able to leave the car, and called his friend, the second victim who was originally driving the car, to come into the lobby.

It turned out that the second victim was on her way to the first victim’s home when she noticed two guys, whom she had met two days earlier, walking down the street near Kirkwood. She offered them a ride to their house but told them that she first had to pick up the first victim on the way. The two guys got in her car and came along. Once arrived at the first victim’s house, the two suspects made their move. After both victims had fled the vehicle, the suspects drove off with it. The second victim attempted to chase them down, but found the car abandoned not far away.


We’re happy to find no cases of burglary for year-to-date in the MPSA service area. The crime map for January does show a burglary on 4th Street, but we found this to be in error when we examined the police report, booking record, and court case for the suspect in the case (we share that report as a “Other Incidents” below).

Burglary prevention remains the top priority for the neighborhood patrol. If there’s anything worse than having criminals on the streets in front of our homes, it would be having criminals inside our homes. Home burglaries can be traumatizing in that the victim is left feeling quite violated. Our patrol deployment therefore focuses on weekday daytime hours when most of us are at work and the hours when residential burglars normally strike.




#150282853 | 8th & Juniper – On January 28, 2015 a shooting took place on 8th Street between Peachtree and Juniper. The male victim, who had been shot in the back, told police that he had been shot by two black males in a silver BMW. He apparently knew his assailants, and told police their names. Officers summoned an ambulance from Grady, and once the victim was placed onto the stretcher he quit talking to the police. Numerous bystanders witnessed the situation, and pointed police to the spot where the victim was shot. There police recovered a shell casing and a receipt as evidence in the case. AJC’s report on the case quoted an APD official explaining that they believed the situation to be drug-related. In the course of the investigation Atlanta Police issued a warrant for one of the individuals in the BMW, Joseph Ojukwa, who was arrested in Clayton County on 2/23/15. He was immediately turned over to the Fulton County jail, where he remains ineligible for bond as of this writing on several charges including Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon. There is no word on the status of the other person allegedly involved.

#150250445 | 4th near Chas Allen – Late in the 2am hour on 01/25/2015 a resident was surprised by the sound of someone kicking in his front door and then crashing through his front window. The resident came downstairs, with his firearm drawn, to find a drunken stranger sitting on his sofa cursing and acting in a boisterous manner. The resident also advised police that the accused’s “speech was slurred and he kept falling oft the couch.” He ordered the intruder to stay on the couch until police arrived. Once the police arrived, the suspect was still “cursing and acting in a boisterous manner.” The resident told police at the scene that he had just installed a new front door and new windows, and that the suspect had just inflicted around $4200 in damages. The suspect told the arresting officer that he had been drinking at a local bar, and that he was just looking for a place to sleep. The suspect, Ricardo Mora-Olivares, was arrested on charges of Criminal Damage To Property In The 2nd Degree and Public intoxication. MPSA NOTE: We found this case through the crime map feature at the APD website where it was noted as a burglary. Neither the police report, his booking record, nor the court file on this case notes any charges for burglary. The suspect bonded out from jail two days later.

#150240511 | Piedmont & 4th – During the 3am hour on 1/24/15 an officer on routine patrol observed a suspicious individual looking into cars in the 700 block of Piedmont, and at the same time carrying a large wooden stick about 4-5 feet in length. When the officer stopped to examine the situation more closely and asked if any of the cars belonged to the suspect, he became belligerent toward the officer. First the subject refused to show the officer identification or reveal his name. The subject then poised the stick at the officer as if in batting position, and threatened to “finish” the officer if he stepped any closer. The officer then drew his Taser, and the subject then lowered his stick without letting go of it. Once the subject saw the device’s laser aiming at his stomach, he dropped the wooden stick. The subject tensed up as he was being cuffed at that point, yelling obscenities at the officer. The subject went on to say that he was a “sovereign citizen” and that he does not “follow [our] laws!” To the question of his name, the subject first replied “King Mark” and then told the officer upon request to repeat his name, “Mark Conley.” He claimed to be part of the “Moorish Federation” and that he would have other members of the federation declare war on the police. The subject kept making statements to the officer to the effect of, his day would come and that he “needed to watch out.”

The subject, fully identified as Markzavious Conley, was arrested on charges of Disorderly Conduct #1:Violent Acts toward Persons, False Report to Police, and Possession of Marijuana. He was transported to the Atlanta City Jail. Fulton County records show previous arrests for Cocaine possession and Theft by taking.

#150070050 | Ponce & Piedmont – Shortly after midnight on January 7th, officers were dispatched to 163 Ponce in regards to a person injured in a street fight. The victim told police that a Black male with a white hoodie hit his face against a parking stopper. The suspect fled heading east on Ponce, but police intercepted him without incident at Ponce & Myrtle. Once in police custody, the suspect spontaneously uttered that he hit the victim because “he deserved it for talking about me.” The police report in the case further noted that the suspect admitted hitting the victim’s head against a parking stopper, and that he wanted the officer to arrest the victim “for talking bad” about him. When officers brought the suspect back to the scene, the victim confirmed that they had the suspect. The report noted that no relationship existed between the two prior to the incident. According to the report, there was considerable blood on the parking stopper. The victim was taken to Grady Hospital, accompanied by police units so they could take pictures of the injuries for evidential purposes. Police charged the suspect, identified as Jashua Plair, with Aggravated Assault and delivered him to the Fulton County jail, where he remains as of this writing with bond set at $25,000. Inquiry into the assailant’s background show several bookings into both Fulton and Dekalb jails.



Map showing locations of reported Vehicle Larceny cases.

Car break-ins are going strong as ever, and not just in Midtown. Street criminals prowling around count on people leaving laptops, briefcases, cellphones, and the like in their cars. These thieves are very crafty, and many suspects in this category are apprehended by sheer luck. They often grab such items within reach from the window, and they know that many alarms systems will not sound as long as they take from within reach and not open the car door. The stats for Zone 5 indicate that a great many of the victims come from either outlying areas or from out-of-town. Please urge visitors, family, business customers and friends to participate in the Clean Car Campaign simply by removing all items of value from their parked cars.

Suspects named in this report

Update on the “Fix-Your-Car” Scammer

March 6, 2015 · Posted in Eye on Midtown · Comments Off 


The notorious fix-your-car scammer, Pedro Soto, has been back out of jail for a month now. Soto became the subject of a police search stemming from a June 2014 incident, when he pulled his car disablement scam on the victim and then allegedly robbed him by claiming to have a gun in his pocket. Once he “fixed” the car, he allegedly directed the victim to a nearby convenience store to buy cigarettes under the threat having a gun in his pocket. The victim reported to police of having been robbed of financial cards, personal identification documents, and $300 in cash during the episode. Once police issued an alert to the community, he was eventually arrested on 7/15/2015 on several charges including Armed Robbery, Kidnapping, and Aggravated Assault. When his case came to trial, the charges were very heavily downgraded from the aforementioned felonies to a single misdemeanor charge of Theft By Deception. Judge Kimberly Esmond Adams sentenced him to time already served in jail. He was released back into the community on 2/10/2015.

Since at least 2010 we have been receiving reports about people who have been victimized by this vehicle disablement scam as they shopped at area businesses. Local media outlets have run numerous stories over the years about the fix-your-car scams in our area, and he was arrested on some of those occasions. He crawls underneath the vehicle to disconnect a cable in the engine area in order to disable the victim’s vehicle. When the victim is unable to start the vehicle upon return, this guy simply appears and offers to “fix” the vehicle for some cash. He seems to target high clearance vehicles, such as SUV’s. Soto also goes by numerous aliases, including Orlando Hernandez and Roberto Aguilar. He is originally from Cuba, hence the description of “island accent” frequently cropping up in suspect descriptions. He has 28 bookings for the Fulton County jail alone for things like Criminal Trespass, various theft offenses, and drug possession. For several years Midtown Tire, one of our community sponsors for the patrol, has regularly been receiving calls for assistance related to this scam, but his latest jail stay coincided perfectly with the longest period without reports of the car repair scam.

If you return to your car and find it disabled:

  • Call Midtown Tire at 404-874-1112 – they will send someone out to reconnect the cable on the house.
  • At night, call AAA instead (AAA can be quite a life-saver and is well worth the annual fee!) and have them come out.
  • If you have a high-clearance vehicle parking by pulling through or backing into a space – this keeps the front undercarriage out in the open.
  • In any case do not accept help from a stranger wishing to “fix” your car.

Some pictures of this individual:

Who is this package thief?

December 15, 2014 · Posted in Eye on Midtown · Comments Off 


On Friday (12/12/14) a resident in the 5th & Argonne area had two packages stolen from the front porch less than two hours after delivery. The thief was shameless enough to not even notice the home security camera recording him in the act. The video footage shows how he just walked up off the street, peeked into a window, and then walked off with the packages at the front door. The offender is a white male approximately 5’10” to 6′ tall, slender, and at the time was wearing a black skull cap, blue jeans, and was carrying a black backpack. We are committed to de-grinching this neighborhood during the holiday season and need for everybody to watch this video. Anybody with information or insight on who this guy is please let us know as soon as possible. If you see him around please call 911 and reference case #143481713.

Here is the video of the offense taking place:

And some still shots from the video:

Internal notes: File #397

Major Incidents – November 2014

November 14, 2014 · Posted in Eye on Midtown · Comments Off 

We have updated this bulletin with additional reports that have come in lately. These are the November reports we have received to date. With one exception, the scope only covers the MPSA service area with a focus on robberies, burglaries, and situations involving unusually dangerous individuals. 


Juniper & 3rd | #143330450 | 11/29/2014


Robberies are a step short of a homicide.

#143330450 – On 11/29/14 during the 5am hour a newspaper deliveryman had his car stolen on the job at Juniper & 3rd. A black male approached him with a knife asking for his vehicle. As the victim was fighting with the suspect a black female jumped into the vehicle and sped off, heading north on Piedmont. The victim could not recall a description of the suspect, but was not injured in the incident.

933 Peachtree Street | #143321793 | 11/28/14

#143321793 – [While this is out of the MPSA service area, we share it because the offender was apprehended immediately afterwards] During the 8pm hour on 11/28/2014 an off-duty officer working an extra job at Taco Mac radioed for assistance in apprehending a robbery suspect. The officer had been flagged down by a witness to the incident pointing at the victim chasing the suspect. The victim chasing the offender led the officer into a parking garage on that block, where he lost sight of the suspect hiding behind some parked cars. Once the subject reappeared the officer drew his sidearm and ordered him to the ground. About that time backup units arrived at location to help place the offender into a police vehicle.


Mark Pinkins was apprehended immediately after robbing a woman on Peachtree Street.

At the same time, a security officer at the location advised that she saw the offender toss a red purse along with a handgun under a parked vehicle, and took the officers to it. There, the officers recovered the victim’s red purse along with a semi-automatic handgun loaded with nine rounds in the magazine and one round in the chamber.

At that point the officers could speak with the victim. She advised that she was walking along Peachtree Street when the subject came up behind her and put a “hard object” that felt like a knife or gun into her side, and pulled the purse off of her. The offender then started running with her purse and she gave chase. Once the officers apprehended the suspect she confirmed that the found purse was hers. The witness also started chasing until he came across the off-duty officer working nearby.

Atlanta’s Finest then hauled this offender, identified as Mark Fitzgerald Pinkins, to the Fulton County jail on charges of Armed Robbery, Possession of a Firearm by Convicted Felon, and Possession of a Firearm during Commission of a Crime. Like so many others, this one was by no means new to the police, complete with a long rap sheet and prison history. He remains in the Fulton County jail as of this writing, and will be liable to a very lengthy incarceration under the Criminal Code of Georgia once convicted. 

700s Argonne | #143301765 | 11/26/2014

#143301765 – On 11/26/2014 Atlanta Police responded to a strongarm robbery call in the 700 block of Argonne Avenue, where the victim advised that she had given a stranger, described in the report as a black female, a ride from her office at 999 Peachtree. The victim described the offending female as a “homeless” woman often hanging around the block where she works. When the victim left work and returned to her car, the suspect approached her and asked for a ride to Argonne & 6th because her mother lived in that area. Once they arrived at that location the offender then grabbed the victim’s hair and demanded her wallet. The victim complied, and then the woman fled heading south on Argonne. The police report describes the suspect as a dark-skinned female wearing gray stretch pants, a gray jacket and a gray hat, and carrying a grey purse.

Myrtle & 9th | #143240013 | 11/19/2014 (Report date 11/20)

#143240013 – Just before midnight on 11/19/14 a neighbor was robbed at gunpoint in the Myrtle & 9th area as he walked home. As he was walking along Myrtle, a dark, older model Ford drove by and then stopped. Suddenly, two black males emerged from the vehicle and demanded the victim’s belongings at gunpoint. The victim described the assailants as two black males, one of which had dreadlocks with “some blond in them”, and a gold tooth. The other offender had shorter hair. They were both wearing dark clothing. The victim lives on a nearby street, and met the police there.

Location: 300’s 7th Street | Incident #143172978 | 11/13/2014

#143172978 - As the victim arrived home around 10:15pm from her dance class, a black male about 6’3” in height driving a maroon hatchback vehicle pulled up and stopped near her vehicle. As the victim was heading from her vehicle to her residence, the offender charged at her from his car and attempted to wrest her purse and duffel bag away from her. At point her neighbor came home, saw that she was in trouble, and charged at the offender. The offender then sprang back into his vehicle, in which another black male was riding, and sped away down nearby Argonne Avenue. The victim lost no property in the incident.

Location: 800’s Glendale Terrace | Incident Number: 143170009 | Report Date: 11/12/2014

robbery-pictogram#143170009 - Around Midnight on 11/12/2014 the two victims was walking along Glendale Terrace, when a black male in all dark clothing approached them from behind. The victims bolted into a nearby apartment building when the offender produced a silver handgun, with one victim dropping his wallet and cellphone while attempting to flee. The suspect gave chase, and cornered the victims in the hallway of the apartment building, and told them to look down. The offender then retrieved the dropped cellphone and wallet, and fled the scene. The victims described the offender as middle-aged black male with short curly hair, but did not see which direction he took once he reached the street. The police report noted that no cameras captured the situation.



900s Chas Allen | #143221641 | 11/18/2014

#143221641 – On November 18, 2014 in the 900 block of Charles Allen Drive called police to report that while she was at home, someone entered her garage to steal two mountain bikes. The offender(s) also gained access to a guestroom above the garage, where they stole a large flatscreen TV.

700s Myrtle | #143240007 | 11/20/2014

#143240007 – Shortly after midnight on 11/20/14 the victim came home in the 700 block of Myrtle Street to find that someone had entered his bedroom through a window and stolen his Playstation 4 gaming system. The offender had stood on a garbage can outside the bedroom to reach the window, which according to the victim would not lock all the way. A roommate was home at the time but did not hear anything given that he was at the other end of the home throughout the night. The report noted that neither the television nor any other item in the bedroom was stolen.

Location: 700s Argonne | Incident #143150871 | Reported 11/11/2014

#143150871 – A gentleman came to the precinct on 11/11/2014 to report a burglary at his daughter’s apartment that occurred in May 2014. Among the loot were jewelry, music instruments, stereo equipment, and firearms. The apartment had been ransacked, but it remains unclear why the daughter waited nearly six months to tell her father (who had co-signed the lease), who then filed a report. In probing into this suspicious report, we found that the daughter was arrested by the Atlanta Police Department in August 2012 for Possession of Heroin. She also had a DUI case in Dekalb County in 2010. She clearly had no business with firearms in her apartment to begin with, and we’re thinking there could be more to this story.



Piedmont & 4th | #143300239 | 11/26/2014

406-fcm-20131223#143300239 – Two officers investigating prostitution & drug activity in the Piedmont & 4th area encountered Mr. Alfonso LOWE, and found that he had a “possible warrant” for his arrest. As the officers stepped out of the patrol vehicle to investigate him further, they saw that he was holding an unidentified object in his pocket. As they worked to secure the subject, they realized that he was holding a knife and was attempting to stab himself. The two officers had to deploy their taser several times as the subject continued to spin and stab himself. The officers got the subject to sit down on the curb for a few seconds, but despite the taser prongs still stuck in his body, he then he got up and ran away as he continued stabbing himself. The officers then drew their side arms as they commmanded the subject to drop the knife, to which the subject replied “shoot me.” Eventually the offender complied with police commands and was placed into custody. From the scene he was taken to the Grady Hospital detention unit, where he was treated for a total of 21 self-inflicted stab wounds. He was later booked into the Fulton County jail on charges of Reckless Conduct and Obstruction. Our research into this dangerous offender shows history for Aggravated Assault and Robbery. He remains in the Fulton County jail on these charges. 

Drug Nest Growing on Ponce

November 10, 2014 · Posted in Eye on Midtown · Comments Off 

Vagrant activity on the property owned by the Bagiatis family in the 400 block of Ponce has recently escalated into a major magnet for drug activity. Every night up to 20 individuals camp in the storefronts of the 461/463 building (Domino’s Pizza, Best Wings, and the Ace Cash Express) and around the freestanding 447 building (Chico & Chang’s). The dark area behind Chico & Chang’s is also a spot for chronic nuisance loitering and drug activity generated by street people allowed to remain there. The photo gallery accompanying this post attests to vagrant activity – a tent in the rear, litter accumulation, and furniture parts around the property.



Drug activity runs rampant among these offenders, who can often be seen smoking crack on the property day and night. On 9/26/2014 Police arrested Tamiko Castillo and Cecil Smith for possession of crack cocaine on that property. After release from jail they reappeared on that property. The arrest occurred at the tables outside of Chico & Chang’s during daytime hours. David Swain was arrested on 10/16/2014 for possession of cocaine, near that location. He had been spending considerable time on the that property in the days leading up to this arrest. Swain has been on our watchlist for quite some time.

Drug dealing is also taking place on this property. People frequently come to the property to buy drugs, and they are clearly are not patronizing any of the establishments there. The typical scenario: the buyer will park at the rear of Chico & Chang’s, make contact with one of the street people, and then wait for someone to return to the site. After the transaction the buyer drives off. During that time these buyers never go to the building, let alone buy food.

These offenders present an adverse effect on the surrounding area, ranging from aggressive panhandling to serious criminal activity such as breaking into cars. On 7/23/2014 APD units caught James Avery Booker in the act of entering a vehicle and stealing items from it. In the days leading up to that he had been camping on the 461 property and loitering in the surrounding area. After release from jail he reappeared in the area, and frequented the that property at night. While he has not been seen in several weeks, he has a history of coming and going in the Ponce & Boulevard area. Enoch Prince, aka “Disco”, has been obtrusively begging in nearby traffic for years – he often appears on that property. Another individual frequenting this drug nest can be seen begging aggressively in traffic stopped on Ponce (see linked video).

Jackie Sue Hunter, one of the most notable criminals on our watchlist, keeps a high profile on that property. Almost every morning she can be seen at the tables at Chico & Chang’s. She was the most visible prostitute on Ponce when MPSA started operations in 2003. She has been criminally active since the 1970s, with the earliest case we have found dating back to a 1976 charge for unlawful manufacture, delivery, distribution, possession, or sale of a noncontrolled substances. In probably her most notable case, she was among three criminals charged in 1980 with Murder and Armed Robbery. Her murder charge is showing on court records as having been dead-docketed, but she was convicted for the armed robbery. Department of Corrections records show that she served five years in prison for that. The main co-defendant in the case, a Gene Saunders, was convicted of both the robbery and murder, and was sentenced to life. A third woman was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and robbery in the case. Since then Jackie has continued quite a life of crime, as reflected by the many cases found for her in Fulton, Dekalb Counties, and Cobb Counties. We have video footage of her engaging in what strongly appear to be drug transactions.

Businesses on the site compound the problem – most notably Domino’s and Chico & Chang’s. From what we see while conducting observation work across the street, Chico & Chang’s does too little to stop the loitering on the property. Street people loiter on the property for extended periods at their outdoor tables and behind the business. Domino’s Pizza workers have been observed on several occasions taking pizza outside to the street people loitering and camping outside. We are seeking to exert pressure on these businesses and the property owner to give due consideration to the detrimental effects that this open-air drug activity inflicts on the surrounding community.

We have furnished our documentation to the Atlanta Police Department (excerpt here), and they are proactively working to address the criminal activity and public disorder there. Below we have posted pictures and a video of conditions at that location, along with pictures of the mentioned offenders.

Picture set 1: Scenes from this drug nest:

Picture set 2: Offenders named in this report

Video showing conditions on and around this property.

Robbery & Burglary Cases – Sept. & Oct. 2014

November 3, 2014 · Posted in Eye on Midtown · Comments Off 

Here are the (edited) narratives for the latest robbery and burglary reports inside the MPSA service area. This covers the period from September 1st through October 25th. Hopefully these will be it for the month of October, but if we get any more reports we will append them here (and advise via Facebook only). This month alone we have three robberies and a burglary. Last month we had several robberies but a couple of those were suspicious on the part of the victim. But there is some good news in all this – APD caught the perp in the only burglary for September – he’s back in jail after several previous arrests. The more support we can drum up for the patrol program, the more effectively we can cut way down on this kind of activity taking place in the neighborhood… 

Robberies are a step away from a homicide…


Location: 300’s 4th Street | Incident Number: 143022998 | Report Date: 10/29/2014

#143022998 – Shortly before 11pm, two black males around 5’07” and 5’09” in height, possibly juveniles, approached the victim as she exited her car on 4th Street. There the offenders produced a handgun as one of them asked, “Do you want to die?”. During the incident the victim dropped her iPhone, and the suspects picked it up. They also started to steal her backpack, but left it when she said that nothing was in it. The victim told police that she believed the handgun to be a BB gun based on the way they jabbed her with it. The offenders then fled west on 4th Street toward Peachtree.

Location: Myrtle & 3rd | Incident Number:142830610 | Report Date:10/10/2014 [MPSA Note: We strongly believe there is much more to this than meets the eye. The victims have been known to loiter among the street criminals in the area and have criminal history.]

[minimal redaction by MPSA] On 10/10/2014 at approximately 4:30AM, An officer was flagged down in the area of Juniper St NE and Ponce de Leon Ave NE on an Pedestrian Robbery call. The victims advised the incident occurred in the area of 692 Myrtle St NE. The victims Mr. FF and Mr. GG. stated that they met a couple of males (described as black males, one approximately 5’09”, fade hair-style, wearing a white T-shirt, identified himself as “Andre”; the other approximately 5’11”, dreads hair-style, grey T-shirt, blue jeans) at Bulldogs club earlier in the night. They further stated they left the club around 3:30AM and were walking in the area of Myrtle St & 4th St, when those males pulled up in a vehicle (silver Jeep Cherokee or Compass; GA Tag) alongside them flirting. The vehicle pulled off when a patrol vehicle came up behind. The victims stated the males returned about 10 minutes later in the area of Myrtle St & 3rd St, when they suggested they all go to Waffle House together, and offered them a ride. The victims stated they accepted the ride and they were driven to the gas station (Chevron at 180 Ponce de Leon Ave NE) around the corner, where one of the males got out to buy cigarettes. The male returned to the vehicle, and they made the block again, pulling over at Myrtle St at 3rd St NE. Mr. GG advised he felt the situation was odd, so he began to get out of the vehicle. At this point, they advised that the driver (“Andre”) turned around and pointed a small/compact grey handgun at Mr. FF saying “Gimme everything you got.” Simultaneously, the stated a third suspect (described as a black male, possibly wearing a grey hoodie) approached the passenger side on foot and pointed a small black handgun at Mr. FF as well. Mr. FF advised he handed over his cell phone(white Apple iPhone 4; cracked screen; serial number unknown) and a quarter. FF jumped out of the vehicle. Neither Mr. FF nor Mr. GG recall where the third male went to after the incident. The vehicle took off westbound on Ponce de Leon Ave NE. Mr. FF did have some difficulty recalling details when asked, and admitted he was inebriated. Mr. GG was not very forthcoming and just advised that Mr. FF pretty much summed the incident up. FF advised he has tracking enabled on his phone, and attempted to track the phone, but its status was “Offline”. The victims advised one of the males did go into the Chevron gas station and that thus should be on surveillance cameras inside. No injuries were reported. 

Location: Myrtle & 9th Street area | Incident Number:142792163 | Report Date:10/06/2014

[MPSA editing minimal] On October 6, 2014 the victim walked in to report that he had been robbed by gunpoint on October 4, 2014 at 12:30am. He stated he was walking down Myrtle St. to his car, and as he turned onto 9th St. a gray, older model SUV with black edges pull up to him. He stated he thought were passing by but the vehicle stopped and 2 young black males, approximately 19-21 years old, tall and skinny, jumped out and pulled out, what looked like a black or dark grey revolver. Another boy about 12 years old wearing all black took his wallet and phone and hit him in the face. The victim stated they then drove off. The victim stated a Bank of America debit and credit card was stolen, as well as his driver’s license and a white iPhone 5 cell phone. There is tracking on the phone but it has been stating that the phone is off. He stated hours later he received a message on Facebook that his debit card was found near 9th St. and Charles Allen. CID unit 5524 was contacted and notified of this incident. The victim stated he waited until now to report because he wanted to hurry home to cut off his cards and then had to work. Victim statement was faxed to CID.

Location:178 3rd Street | Incident Number:142780683 | Report Date:10/05/2014 [An apparent newbie among the prostitutes learning the hard way that his fellow street criminals don’t exactly make for good company.]

[MPSA editing very minimal] On 10-05-2014 An officer was dispatched to a pedestrian robbery at 178 3rd St NE. and met with the victim who stated that he was robbed by three black males dressed as females in a black Porsche SUV. The victim stated the driver of the vehicle got out who was dressed in a black shirt and black pants pulled out a black hand gun and then put a silencer on it. The victim stated the male told him to give him everything at which point he did. The victim stated the males then left in the SUV and drove down 3rd St NE towards Peachtree St NE [MPSA NOTE: 3rd Street is a one-way street and does not flow toward Peachtree from 178 3rd Street]. The victim stated he recognized the males as “trannys” that work the area with himself. The victim did not have any identification on him nor could give any address, phone number or any way to contact him. The victim stated he wanted to go back to Tampa to his momma. The victim was very shook up and was not making sense of what he was saying nor understanding what I was trying to tell him. Officers on the scene advised the victim that they would contact him at a later date for a statement because he was so upset and not making any sense. The officer also noted in the report that he had seen the victim several times at the corner of Piedmont & 3rd dressed as a female walking the block. The victim advised he was not injured.

Location: 680 Ponce | Incident Number:142652182 | Report Date:09/22/2014

[Edited for flow] On, September 22, 2014 at approximately 5:35 pm, police responded to pedestrian robbery call at 680 Ponce de Leon Ave NE (parking lot). While the victim was sitting on the front patio of a coffeehouse at that location, an unknown elderly black male approached him and asked for some change – the victim responded that he does not have any cash on him. The suspect then began speaking about his past and his hardship for a few minutes, and eventually left. Once finished with his drink the victim, on crutches, headed back to his car in the nearby parking lot when the same elderly black male suddenly reappeared and grabbed his crutches and demanded his Rolex watch. Once the victim handed over the watch, the suspect left with it toward Glen Iris Drive. Once suspect description was clarified, police units canvassed the area but did not find him. The manager of the coffeehouse told police that onsite security cameras would have captured the victim and suspect sitting on the patio, and that footage would be available later. The victim was also to contact investigators with the watch’s serial number once he got home.

Location: 526 Ponce de Leon Ave NE | Incident Number:142650656 | Report Date: 09/22/2014 [Between the fishy nature of this report, and looking at the victim’s criminal history, this case screams drug deal gone bad. When reviewing the caseload a couple weeks later, we noticed that this case dropped off the crime map. Upon our ensuing inquiry, we learned that investigators concluded that a robbery did not occur in this manner]

SUMMARY: Police were dispatched to McDonalds on Ponce late in the 6am hour in response to a robbery call. The victim advised that he had been robbed in the restroom of the store. In the few minutes leading up to the incident, the victim was sitting at a table near the restroom as he always does when he comes in the mornings on his way to work at a nearby carwash, when a tattooed, black male described as 5’09” in height, about 170 lbs, and with athletic build sat at a nearby table. The suspect then left the restaurant via an exit at the rear of the dining room, and the victim also stepped out to smoke a cigarette. While outside, the victim noticed the suspect standing at a newer model Grey Infiniti with two doors, with another male described as bald sitting in the passenger seat. The police report also noted the victim saying that the suspect opened the trunk during the conversation. In response to a question the victim briefly spoke with the suspect about carwash services, and then re-entered the store to use the restroom. The suspect followed the victim into the restroom, where he produced a “Glock model” handgun and robbed him of $350. The suspect left in the aforementioned vehicle and headed west on Ponce.

Location: Charles Allen & 4th | Incident Number:142632958 | Report Date:09/20/2014 [Previously reported via Eye on Midtown]

#142632958 (edited by MPSA for flow) – On 09/20/2014 at approximately 11:52pm, APD responded to the 800 block of Charles Allen Drive NE regarding a person shot. Upon arrival the responding officer was approached by the caller, who stated a male unknown to her had been robbed a block away from her residence and was shot in the left hand. The victim was in and out of consciousness as he sat on the porch of [caller’s home] with a towel wrapped around his left hand. The caller stated she was on her front porch with friends, when she heard a loud pop down the street. Approximately 10 seconds later the victim ran onto her front porch asking for help, and stating he had been shot. Prior to police arrival, the victim stated to person calling APD that he was robbed a block away from her residence by two black males, and shot in the hand. Grady ambulance arrived on the scene and transported the victim to Grady Memorial Hospital. The responding officer noticed a blood trail from the victim leading from the porch to the corner of Charles Allen & 4th, where he noticed one .40 caliber Smith & Wesson shell casing on the ground. The crime scene unit gathered all potential evidence at that location.

Another officer conducted further investigation at the hospital once the victim was stable. According to the victim, two males approached him as he was walking along the sidewalk. One of the males pointed a silver handgun towards the victim, asking, “what do you have, what do you have”, while the other male attempted to go into his pockets. The victim told the men he doesn’t have anything and then attempted to run away. The men were not able to take any property from the victim but fired one shot which struck the victim in the left hand. The victim was able to get a good look at only one of the suspects, the one with the handgun, and described him as an athletic-built young black male wearing a red shirt, red baseball cap with no writing on it, and blue jeans. The victim stated that he would be able to positively identify that suspect if he ever sees him again. He was not able to get a good look at the other suspect. The evidence was collected from the crime scene and photos were taken by ID unit. The incident remains under investigation.

Location: Home Depot on Ponce | Incident Number:142472513 | Report Date:09/04/2014 [MPSA Note: This case appeared on the crime mapping as a robbery, but this narrative is clearly that of a shoplifting situation.]

Shortly after 7pm on 9/04 an APD officer responding to a shoplifting call arrived to find a store security guard working to get a shoplifting suspect into custody. At the self-checkout line, the suspect had allegedly tried to switch price tags on some items with those of a much lower cost, which was discovered upon using the self-checkout. Going into the attempted price switch at the checkout line, security personnel had already his movements in the store. When confronted about the price tag switch, the suspect fought with store security personnel. Because the suspect was bleeding from falling to the floor and hitting his head, an ambulance was summoned. Once it was determined that he did not need hospital attention, he was transported to jail with Theft by Shoplifting charges.


Location: 300’s 5th Street | Incident Number:142802639 | Report Date:10/07/2014

On October 7, 2014 police responded to a burglary call at 346 5th Street at 6:40pm. The victim stated that he left for work around 8:45am hours and returned home around 6:30pm hours to find his home a rear window busted out. Items known to have been taken in the burglary included jewelry, laptops, and a jar with change and cash. The crime scene technicians found no prints, and police noted that there were no witnesses, surveillance cameras, or security alarm.

Location: 300’s 6th Street | Incident Number:142602510 | Report Date:09/17/2014 – [Previously reported in Eye on Midtown before suspect captured. Suspect Phillip Gamble entered into MPSA watchlist as #392]

(As we reported last time): this incident was making its rounds through the neighborhood via email. In the 300 block of 6th Street, the victim left for work around 7:30am and returned around 5pm to find his home burglarized. According to word circulating via, the offenders busted the construction box lock, but it was empty. They also broke through a padlocked gate and then onward into the house via a pet door. Laptops, jewelry, and antique silver. They also broke into a safe. [case #142602510]

Once the suspect was identified, this follow-up report was added to the official narrative:

Phillip Gamble was eventually arrested for the burglary on 6th Street.

Phillip Gamble was eventually arrested for the burglary on 6th Street.

[Summary] On 10-08-2014 Zone 6 officers responded to 1000’s Virginia Ave regarding an suspicious person call. Upon arrival officers located a male exiting the residence there. It was determined that the male had just burglarized the home. Through additional investigation it was determined that Mr. Gamble was involved in the burglary of 6th St. He was charged accordingly. Our street informants have seen him hanging around the Ponce & Boulevard area. He remains in the Fulton County jail.


Internal Note: this post originally appeared 9/26/14, revised & expanded 11/03/14

Safety Advisory: Ricky Love is back in Midtown

September 5, 2014 · Posted in Eye on Midtown · Comments Off 

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.

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

Dramatic crash on Myrtle Street

August 30, 2014 · Posted in Eye on Midtown · Comments Off 

(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

Street Criminal Watch 8/10/2014

August 11, 2014 · Posted in Eye on Midtown · Comments Off 

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.


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