1. First off, we would like to thank Martin Kemp for graciously hosting a neighborhood safety meeting in the garden of his home on Charles Allen. This meeting was set up after last weekend’s robbery of a woman in front of her child as she arrived home from the grocery store. This meeting, announced with only two days notice on Nextdoor.com, was well attended by a good number folks from the neighborhood and a battery of city officials including Mayor Reed who appeared unannounced. Quite a few topics related to public safety were discussed, and we have highlighted a few of those below:
- Beefed-up police Activity - APD has increased its presence effective immediately. Many people have noticed a dramatic increase in police presence in the last 24 hours or so. The three enforcement divisions in APD (Field Operations Division, Criminal Investigations Division, and Community Services Division) have put into action a comprehensive plan to address the latest trends in violent incidents and chronic criminal activity. They kicked off this enforcement blitz Wednesday night into Thursday, and in the first eight hours APD has racked in 33 arrests in and around Midtown. People are already writing about seeing motorcycle cops everywhere, police riding bicycles in alleys, and stepped up traffic enforcement. This is going on not only in Midtown but also in the Boulevard corridor to the south of us.
- Keep those porch lights on - APD has requested that everybody keep their front porch lights on all night long for the next 30 days. We would like to take this a step further, and urge people to make this a regular habit from here on out.
- Reward for information – At this week’s meeting Mayor Reed announced a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those perpetrating last weekend’s robbery of a woman in front of her child. A redacted police report narrative of this incident is below.
- Piedmont & 3rd/4th drug activity & prostitution – One of the attendees asked Mayor Reed about the long-standing prostitution and drug activity in the 3rd/4th/Juniper/Myrtle area. While the Mayor said that he was not aware of this specific hotspot, he would look into this situation and solve this problem.
- Report suspicious persons – APD Major Whitmire urged people to call 911 about suspicious people. In the course of one week Zone 5 (covers Midtown and Downtown areas) handled 108 suspicious person calls, and more than 20 of those resulted in arrests. But even if no arrest occurs it still very effectively imparts the message that people in this neighborhood will be quick to report any activity out of line.
- Targeting recidivist offenders – Coucilwoman Mary Norwood announced that a task force of sorts is being put into place to address the recidivist offender problem. APD has a list of 461 chronic and often violent offenders who continue to roam the streets of Atlanta as we speak. According to Mayor Reed, Atlanta Police work diligently to get these criminals off the streets but judges in Fulton County turn too many recidivist offenders back into the community with very light probation sentences. This task force will work toward enhancing sentences for these offenders, and are mobilizing the community through court watch efforts.
2. There will also be another meeting with Mayor Reed, Chief Turner, and other city officials next Tuesday evening, and we want to encourage everybody to attend this meeting as well. We find it very important to keep the momentum going on the neighborhood and city’s response to recent crime trends.
- Tuesday October 13th, 6pm, at Grace United Methodist Church (Ponce & Chas Allen).
3. Media coverage – Here are a couple media reports about Wednesday night’s meeting:
- CBS 46: Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed apologizes, promises crackdown on Midtown crime
- Atlanta Intown: Mayor pledges to curb spike in Midtown crime, calls town hall meeting
4. We leave you with the official police report narrative (with redactions) of last weekend’s broad daylight robbery of the mother with her child:
#152761598 | 700s Charles Allen Drive | 10/03/2015 | Robbery (attempted carjacking) – On October 3 2015 at 3:10pm police were dispatched to 720 Charles Allen Drive [roughly Chas Allen & 4th] on a robbery call. When they arrived at the location they spoke to Ms. VICTIM and she advised that she was returning home from shopping with her daughter and noticed 3 black males walking east on 4th street. She at first started wondering who they were but continue to her home. Mrs. VICTIM backed her vehicle into her driveway and got out to get the groceries out of her trunk. As she was getting ready to open her trunk a black male with a small afro, wearing a black pullover hoodie with a teal colored sweat pants came around with a small old black revolver pointing it at her advised her to get on the ground. When she got on the ground, her husband came outside and saw what was going on. and started making noise and screaming at the suspect, who then ﬂed the scene. The victim’s purse was located in front of a neighbor’s door in the direction suspects ﬂed the scene. The second black male wore a gray hoodie and the third black male had on khaki pants. [Investigators came to the scene, got a statement from the victim] After the suspects fled the scene they went over to 727 Juniper Street NE [Lutheran Tower] and allegedly carjacked someone else.
As we often say, the many reasons why we need a patrol have names. We share with you some of them…
1. Matthew Higgins – in jail for knife attack
Last week a gentleman was assaulted with a knife at Midtown Promenade as he was leaving work. The redacted police report is below, but we would add that we reached out to the victim, who confirmed to us that he had no prior contact with his assailant. He has been seen around in the area. Thankfully, a Sheriff Deputy happened to be nearby and came to the aid of the victim. We find no other criminal history on the assailant, which leads us to believe that he might be a rather recent transplant. We have attached his mugshots, and are wondering if anybody else in the neighborhood has had any encounters with this individual. Higgins remains in the Fulton County jail on Aggravated Assault charges. We share with you the police report narrative in the case:
#152362804 – 931 Monroe (Midtown Promenade) – 8/24/15 – Aggravated Assault
[abbreviated Report] On 8/24/15 I was dispatched to a fight call at 931 Monroe Dr . Upon arrival I spoke with Mr. VICTIM, [who stated that] Mr. Matthew Higgins attempted to stab him with a knife. Mr. VICTIM stated that he was leaving work walking to his bike at approximately 8:32 PM. As he passed the bus stop Mr. Higgins jumped up and begin swinging a knife at him. Mr. VICTIM stated he backed up and fell to the ground. At that time Mr. Higgins began swinging at his legs, cutting his left pants leg. Mr. VICTIM then kicked him away, got up, and ran off. He stated that Mr. Higgins swung the knife approximately 5 times attempting to stab him in the stomach and legs. A nearby witness, stated that he heard the screams of Mr. VICTIM yelling, “STOP!, STOP!” The witness, a Deputy Sheriff, stated that he ran to stop Mr. Higgins then notiﬁed APD of the incident. Mr. WITNESS’s statement was placed into evidence and contact information was collected. Mr. Higgins stated that he had nothing to do with the entire incident that took place. Mr. VICTIM was not injured in the incident. … Mr. Higgins was taken into custody at 8:48 PM. and taken down to Fulton County jail.
2. Brandon Burchfield
Earlier this week Atlanta Police arrested a suspect breaking into at least two cars on 5th Street . The suspect, Brandon Burchfield, has been on our watchlist for several years as a result of spending a lot of time among the drug culture in the Ponce & Boulevard area. In his most recent incident, a resident reported him to police upon observing him enter vehicles parked on 5th Street . Police responded quickly, and were able to arrest Brandon Burchfield after the witness told police that was the male he saw. A summary of that arrest narrative:
#152430399 – 300s 5th Street – 8/31/15 – Car Break-in Arrest
At 3:48am on 8/31/15 police responded to a call on 5th Street about a male entering vehicles. The witness told police that as he was sitting on his porch he observed a male walking on the street, looking into vehicles and trying car doors, and eventually enter at least two vehicles parked on the street and remove items. The witness confronted the male, “yelled at him to leave,” and then called 911. The suspect responded that “he already got what he came for and tried to leave the area.” Police canvassing the area quickly intercepted Brandon Burchfield and found on his person several items believed stolen from the vehicles in question. He was immediately charged with Entering a Vehicle for the purpose of Theft or Felony. The police report also noted that they initially took him to the Fulton County jail, but the jail turned him away and diverted him to Grady Hospital instead. As of this writing it is unclear whether he has since been taken to the jail or if he remains in a hold at Grady Hospital .
Brandon Burchfield has shown himself to be a chronic offender for several years now. In 2011 he had a series of arrests involving entering vehicles, use of stolen credit cards, theft by receiving, and criminal trespassing for illegal purpose. Looking at his jail bookings, he even re-offends within days of being released from jail. Fulton County jail records show this to be his 15th booking, plus other counties show cases in their jurisdictions. Fulton County court records also note that he has been sentenced to drug rehab on more than one occasion – drug court clearly does not adequately protect the neighborhoods where this offender operates. We are therefore adding him to our court watch grid, as his case calls into question the effectiveness of drug courts.
3. Kenneth Lamb
People sometimes erroneously report seeing Kenneth Lamb. Kenneth Lamb is currently in prison for failure to register as a sex offender, and is showing a max date of 5/26/2016. Because he has a tentative parole date of this coming November, we have sent a letter to the State Board of Pardons and Parole emphatically opposing parole for him. He previously served well over 20 years for rape (three separate convictions), 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 and threatening conduct in and around the neighborhood came to our attention, and have closely monitored him since. He became known as the “barefooted panhandler” because he would tell a story about having no shoes, and when people gave him a pair of shoes he would then he discards them and tell the story to someone else. Has also been reported to shout down people walking along the sidewalks, and menaced an area property manager by letting her know that he knows her car and when she works. Because of his rape convictions he was required to register as a sex offender. On two occasions we investigated his reported address, and found one to be a vacant house and another to be group home where nobody knew him. Both of these were very far away from where he was known to spend his time. He continues to be one of our most successful and proactively pursued court watch cases. We share with you the parole opposition letter sent on Kenneth Lamb.
4. Tywong McCoy
From time to time people tell us about a particular long-standing problematic individual, and even have posted to social media about him. Mccoy, who served a prison sentence of several years after a pattern of stalking women in the neighborhood and exposing himself to them, has been prowling around the neighborhood lately. He is among our most menacing offenders of all time. He became a serious problem for the neighborhood in 2007, when he would often fondle himself as he watched women doing yard work, walking dogs, etc., and in some cases exposing himself as well. He was also found squatting on private properties in the residential area, including a maintenance shed on an apartment property.
He became a very proactive court watch case for us, and was eventually sent to prison for five years for Aggravated Stalking. During that time we sent a parole opposition letter, and successfully prevented any early release for him. Unfortunately that sentence maxed out, and he was released in December of 2012. Since then he continues to generate frequent reports of anti-social behavior, the most common of which are smoking a crack pipe while walking down the street, and prowling around on private property. He continues to go to jail regularly on vagrancy-type offenses and crack possession. Needless to say we find his continued presence to be very menacing, and need for people to call 911 when he is doing these things in public especially in the residential area. In the longer run building up documentation of his conduct would be the only way to build an effective court watch case aimed at protecting the Midtown community. We warn not engage him in any kind of interaction, as he should be considered dangerous.
- Update: We have learned that McCoy has been in jail after exposing himself in the women’s restroom at a local bookstore.
5. Hosea Smith
Hosea Smith, known as “Peaches” on the street and among the most recalcitrant criminals among the street prostitute group, is now in prison until 2021. Douglas County courts, according to their records, sentenced him to six years of imprisonment for Assault with Intent to Infect Someone with HIV, along with Riot in a Penal Institution. This one came under our radar in 2011 when he attacked a woman just outside her home at 3rd & Piedmont . Eventually he ended up in a Florida prison, but was released in 2013. Since his release in Florida , he was in and out of jail usually on warrants from other jurisdictions ( Clarke County and Douglas County among them). Whenever he was not in jail he would come into our neighborhood to pursue prostitution and contribute to street crime here.
Hosea serves as a prime example of why we need enhanced legislation to address street prostitution and its incumbent criminal activity in residential areas. In the past he has told police officers that he had no intention of discontinuing his contribution to neighborhood crime and disorder, and did not care about what the neighborhood thought about his activities. Even though the latest conviction occurred in Douglas County , we plan to oppose parole for this offender because he has shown every time that he will come right back to our neighborhood and resume criminal activity. Once the Parole Board sets a tentative parole month we will schedule our parole opposition efforts.
6. Michael Ted Hawkins
Our neighbors in Virginia Highland have urged folks to be on the lookout for an individual who has also come under our radar over the years. Our research also corroborates this information and he is wanted by the Michigan Dept. of Corrections as an absconder from felony probation. We have not had reports about him in the MPSA service area but if you have been approached by him we would like to know about it. As posted by the VaHi folks:
Michael Hawkins (aka Michael Norberg) has once again been seen in the neighborhood and of all people for him to approach, he stopped John Wolfinger [public safety activist] asking first to do some yard work and later for a ride. John, of course, remembered this individual who was very aggressive with residents of VaHi and Morningside back in 2012. John indicated that he looks somewhat better today than in this old mugshot from 2013. Hawkins has a long sheet including charges for theft, weapons, drugs, aggravated assault and criminal trespass. He was arrested at Ansley Mall in September 2012 and upon learning that he had an outstanding warrant in Michigan , he was returned to that jurisdiction. A check through Atlanta Police Department last week indicated that the Michigan Department of Corrections is currently looking for him for a parole violation. If you encounter this individual in the neighborhood, please call 911 and let the call taker know that there is an outstanding warrant for this individual in Michigan . Under no circumstance should you engage with him, give him work, or allow him into your home or vehicle.
- VaHi’s bulletin on this guy: http://www.fbacvahi.com/2015/09/be-on-lookout-bolo.html
Mugshots of the aforementioned
In a nutshell:
- Detailed general information on our court watch initiative at http://www.midtownponce.org/misc/court-watch
- Just let us know in reply to this eblast that you would like to be on the notification list for key court hearing dates.
- Details on the six cases submitted to the DA’s office listed below
1. Meeting with our community prosecutor
Earlier this week we met with Keith Lamar, our current Zone 5 Prosecutor. We presented six cases of interest to us:
- four cases involving robbery suspects
- two more long-standing offenders (burglary) whom we have both court watched in the past and who currently have new cases.
The six cases are listed below. We were very pleased with the attention given in the cases, and received some recommendations on how to prioritize these cases. These cases will be closely monitored by us and by our community prosecutors. Our feeling is that Midtown has a lot of support and interest from the Fulton County DA’s office via our community prosecutor. Currently, Keith Lamar is acting as community prosecutor for both zones 5 and 6. A new community prosecutor is coming on board very soon to take over Zone 5 (our zone), and we will be meeting with her at some point. During the transition period Mr. Lamar will work closely with us in dealing with the six cases we have presented to him. In other words, we are now moving full force ahead with the court watch program.
2. The court program – what it is:
The website of the Fulton County District Attorney’s office sums it up best: One of the most successful and recognizable Fulton County Community Prosecution initiatives is the Citizens’ CourtWatch program. Often dubbed the ‘eyes and ears’ of the community in court, CourtWatch was created by District Attorney Howard as a vehicle to engage average citizens in the criminal justice system. As Community Prosecutors track cases involving repeat offenders and those of general interest to the community, CourtWatchers are encouraged to attend court proceedings and, when deemed appropriate by the Court, offer perspective regarding the impact a defendant’s criminal activity has on a community. We have revised our general information page on the court watch program at http://www.midtownponce.org/misc/court-watch
3. What we now need from neighborhood folks:
If you are at least sometimes available in the mornings, and can go with us to a court hearing, then we would like to add you to a special email distribution list for court watch purposes. When a case arises, we will then send out a detailed case briefing, work out carpooling arrangements, and other logistical details. While a pool of about 20-30 potential participants would be optimal, we normally only need a handful of volunteers to actually go to a hearing. One person knowledgeable about the case in question and its defendant(s) will be designated a spokesperson for the group (normally an MPSA board member). Sometimes multiple neighborhood groups are involved with a court watch case, as we often share many of the same criminals with other nearby places.
Hearings very often come up on very short notice, and in many cases it may even come in the late afternoon for a hearing the very next morning. We will monitor dates through the Superior Court website, but last minute changes do happen. We then call upon the court watch volunteer list for a handful of attendees for the hearing, and quickly work out carpooling arrangements, provide a detailed briefing on the case, etc. This is very much a hit-or-miss deal – sometimes we can make it, sometimes not. The larger our pool of volunteers, the more likely we will “hit.” Historically, we typically attended one or two hearings per month and many did not result in a conviction on that day. Sometimes defendants back off of a guilty plea when they learn that court watch attendees are in the gallery, but even when that happens we know we are getting somewhere with a clear message that folks will take a strong stance against those bringing criminal activity to our neighborhood. But when they do take a plea, or a guilty verdict is handed down, then we want to be ready to spring into action.
4. The cases we submitted (each linked to its own case briefing sheet):
- Case 1: Cedric Tramel MITCHELL, suspect in incident in which victim was robbed with pepper spray – Details in Case briefing
- Case 2: Robert WILLIAMSON – suspect in robbery on 10th Street – Details in Case briefing
- Case 3: Demetrius Jerome FARRELL, Gary Darrell FARRELL, Teairra Necole LOCKETT, Tiambra Alexis SMITH, and a juvenile arrested after a street robbery at Argonne & 7th – Details in Case briefing
- Case 4: Sheridan Chase WHITE and another suspect under active warrant (we will name once arrested) in carjacking incident – Details in Case briefing
- Case 5: Timothy KOZAK - An old Court Watch/Parole Watch offender for us who has reoffended. He is of interest to other neighborhoods too – Details in Case briefing
- Case 6: Andrew ARNETT – another long-standing offender among our court watch/parole watch cases. – Details in Case briefing
Your neighbors are getting together and taking action to light up Midtown, but we need YOUR help. To address the lighting situation in Midtown, we need to make this a collective effort.
The goal is to (1) find out which city streetlights/bulbs need to be replaced and (2) find out which areas we need to request the city to add streetlights.
We are calling for volunteers to sign-up for a street (partial street, block, alley, etc.) to check on the streetlights and dark areas. We hope to have the list of lighting needs/information compiled by August 31.
Please see the attached map for streets that need volunteers (we also need people to sign up for alleys)! To sign up for a street, half of a street, a block, alley, etc., please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you volunteer to check a certain street, block, or alley, we request you do the following on or before August 31 and email the information to email@example.com:
1. For broken streetlights: Write down the Serial Number on the light pole (if you cannot see the serial number, go back during the day and see if you can find it) and write down the location of the pole (i.e. on Argonne between 6th and 7th in front of ### (House number). Take a moment to study the physical relationship of the pole to the surrounding buildings, driveways, and other permanent features and include this in your description. If possible, take a picture of the pole and surrounding area.
2. For dark areas where we need a streetlight: If there is already a pole (but no streetlight is attached to the pole), write down the pole serial number and write down the location of the pole (i.e. on Argonne between 6th and 7th in front of ### (House number). Take a moment to study the physical relationship of the pole to the surrounding buildings, driveways, and other permanent features and include this in your description. If possible, take a picture of the pole and surrounding area. Also, feel free to make any other notes or suggestions you might have for helping to light up the dark area.
Please, DO NOT walk by yourself. We want you to do this in groups and please take flashlights with you. As an incentive for volunteering, we want to organize a neighborhood get-together (snacks, adult beverages, and good conversation with your neighbors). We are planning the get-together for Tuesday, September 1 and will give more details when available.
We want to light up Midtown and take away all those dark hiding spots, but we need your help to do it!
First the bad news: we had three robberies during the first week of August, with the stats covering only the first 11 days of this month. The good news, and it really is good news, is that in all three cases the perpetrators were quickly caught and remain in jail as we speak. We have posted mugshots of these suspects in the gallery below. These cases also come laden with significance in that they underscore three crucial challenges facing the neighborhood:
1. Fulton County courts sentence too many repeat offenders too leniently. With the 8/05 robbery we see how people in the community are being victimized by repeat felony offenders who should have been dealt with long ago.
2. The situation with street prostitution and drug activity in the Piedmont & 3rd/4th area seems to be escalating into a more serious matter. The 8/04 robbery demonstrates the Broken Windows theory in action – public disorder not suppressed escalates into increasingly serious criminal activity.
3. Many of our robberies are perpetrated by offenders coming from relatively far away rather than in the neighborhood or even nearby places like Bedford-Pine. The offenders in the 8/02 carjacking situation came up from Southwest Atlanta to scout for victims, so effective preventive measures have to be taken in part well outside of Midtown.
#152170393 – Juniper & 10th – 8/05/2015 – Robbery (strongarm)
On 8/5/2015 at 3:30am the victim was walking along 10th Street to his UBER ride after leaving Blake’s when he was approached by an unknown male asking for cash. The victim told the male that he did not have any cash, so the male lunged at him, grabbed him around his neck, and began to choke him until the victim fell to the ground. While being choked, the assailant went through the victim’s pocket and extracted some cash. After taking the money, the offender calmly continued along 10th Street toward Piedmont. A witness was walking along the other side of 10th at the time of the robbery, and told police that he had also been approached by the same offender a few minutes prior. Several police units, with the help of MPSA Patrol, canvassed the area and spotted the suspect at Juniper & 4th, an area alreadyinordinately plagued with street criminals. Both the victim and the witness were taken to the location of interception, where they positively identified the suspect as the perpetrator.
The suspect, Robert Williamson, was charged with Robbery and transported to the Fulton County jail where he remains as of this writing on robbery charges. This is his 26th booking at the Fulton County jail according to public records. He was also released from his last prison sentence in 2014 after serving less than an year and a half for another robbery, an offense for which the Georgia Criminal Code provides for 20 years imprisonment. His periods of incarceration keep getting shorter and shorter, and this offender has been recycled through the drug court program in recent years. This offender has also been known to deal drugs on the street, and was banished from the Old Fourth Ward and Inman Park area as part of sentencing in a previous offense.
#152160049 – 300s Ponce de Leon Avenue – 8/04/2015 – Robbery (pepper spray)
Shortly after midnight police on 8/04/2015 responded to a call about a male screaming as he was running in the roadway. Upon arrival they found that the victim had been pepper-sprayed by one of the street criminals frequently loitering in the Piedmont & 3rd area. The victim was walking to Krispy Kreme when what he described to police as a “male dressed as a female. wearing a wig and a purple dress.” He further told police that the assailant ran up behind him, asked for $5 and then solicited him for sex, both of which the victim declined. The perpetrator then became angry, pepper sprayed him, and demanded his wallet. The victim started to run as he pulled out his cellphone to call 911, but because he was disabled by the pepper spray the assailant grabbed it out of his hand and fled.
Because the victim’s phone had a tracking app, police were later able to locate the offender several blocks away on Piedmont. When police reached the location where the phone was showing, they noticed an individual toss some objects into some nearby bushes. Police intercepted the individual, now identified as Cedric Mitchell, and recovered the victim’s cellphone and pepper spray from the bushes. Mitchell was transported to his 15th booking in the Fulton County jail on charges of Armed Robbery, Simple Battery, and Theft By Taking. This offender has prior convictions for drug and theft offenses. It is also worth noting that this offender often sports a big smile in his jail mugshots (see collage in gallery below).
#152140391 – 295 Ponce – 8/02/2015 – Carjacking
As the victim was leaving the Eagle nightclub, he was approached by two black males that seemed to be yelling homophobic slurs at him. Once he got closer to the two males, “they [seemed] nice and needed a ride to Vine City MARTA Terminal,” so he allowed the two men enter his vehicle. Once all seated in the vehicle, the male in the back seat began going through his things, and the other then said that they needed to go pick up someone else. So the victim rescinded the offer to take them to Vine City. One of the males then began striking the victim and then pulled out a handgun while continuing to strike him. At that point they took his phone and his wallet, dragged him out of the car and threw him onto the ground. Then they drove off with the vehicle.
Once officers put out a bulletin on the carjacked vehicle, police units in Southwest Atlanta located it and arrested one of the suspects. Police there noted that he seemed to be wiping prints off of the vehicle. The victim was taken to the location of interception in Southwest Atlanta, where he positively identified the detained suspect as being among the pair that robbed him. The suspect arrested, Sheridan White, was taken to the Fulton County jail on charges of Hijacking A Motor Vehicle, Aggravated Assault With A Deadly Weapon, Armed Robbery, and Obstruction or Hindering Law Enforcement Ofﬁcer. He remains in the Fulton County jail ineligible for bond according to public records. The police report also noted that “voluntarily stated that he was due in court on Tuesday 8/4/2015 for Receiving Stolen Property (stolen vehicle) and that it was said to be afﬁliated with a gang.” Public records confirm an arrest for these charges this past February.
Police believe they have identified the other suspect, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. So far nobody has been booked into the jail under that name. We will update once a booking is found.
Suspects named in this report:
A GREAT TIME HAD BY ALL!
On August 4th, MNA and MPSA brought together Midtown Residents and Businesses to celebrate in “Giving Neighborhood Crime & Drugs A Going Away Party”. We staged our annual block party on Myrtle Street between 4th and 5th Streets. Atlanta Police Department and other public officials joined us to promote police/community partnerships, crime prevention awareness, safety and neighborhood unity. Residents and Businesses got to meet our Zone 5 officers and City Officials.
NNO 2015 Business Sponsors/Donors:
MPSA annual Sponsors: Coro Realty; Midtown Tire (Goodyear); Fifth Group; Post Properties;
Donors for NNO: Target; Zaxby’s; Cultivators; Boogalou; Monroe Shell Station; The Hilliard Firm; Papi’s; TpFlr; Lucky Exchange; Highland Bakery; Piedmont Conservancy; Sig Samuels Cleaners; Midtown Smile Center Dental; Brusters; Mary Macs Tea Room; Symposium Wine; Fast Signs; L & M Grocery; Krispy Kreme; The Dakota; Shep’s Midtown Ace Hardware; City Councilman Kwanza Hall; Lethal Rhythms Entertainment
Thank you for your continued support in making Midtown safe. We’ll be doing this next year!
MPSA has observed an increase in armed robbers entering our neighborhood in cars, striking quickly, then exiting the neighborhood. We urge folks to be aware of their surroundings when walking around late at night especially in areas with poor lighting, and to avoid distractions such as cell phones. Awareness of your surroundings and early recognition of potential trouble is your first line of defense, whether in Midtown or elsewhere. Midtown’s vibrancy and access are what make it so special to all of us, but vigilance is critical.
#152122991 – 400s Greenwood – Robbery – 7/31/2015
[Summary] During the 11pm hour two men in a silver SUV held up a woman as she was walking into her home. According to the police report, she was standing in front of her home texting, with her back toward the street, when she was suddenly pushed from behind and to the floor of her porch. With a gun pointed to her head, she was robbed of her purse and cell phone. As suspect description in the report, the only detail was two black males. The victim was so shaken that she did not get a good look at them.
#152023173 – 700s Argonne Avenue – Robbery – 7/21/2015
[Summary] As they walked along Argonne at 4th toward 3rd Street during the 11pm hour, two victims were approached by two young black males armed with handguns. When the victims noticed they were being followed, the offenders closed the gap and robbed the victims They then left the scene calmly, headed north on Argonne. The victims described the males as being in their mid to late 20’s. Cellphones and keys were taken.
#152022900 – 300s 10th Street – Robbery by snatch – 7/21/2015
[Summary] During the 9pm hour a would-be victim flagged down police to report that someone had just attempted to snatch his bag. The would-be victim did not comply, and nothing was taken. Police canvassed the area but did not find the suspect.
#151992592 – 265 Ponce de Leon Ave – Aggravated Assault – 7/18/2015
[Summary] During the 11pm hour on 7/18 two women got into an intense street fight. Once police arrived they began interrogating two women about the fight, one of whom already had a gash over her eye. Then the woman swung and struck the one with the gash. Once the belligerent woman was brought under control, she was booked into the Fulton County jail on aggravated battery charges.
#151942842 – 931 Monroe – Carjacking – 7/13/2015
[Summary] Around 11pm three victims were on their way back to the car parked in front of Starbucks when a car with four black males pulled up, and then robbed and carjacked the victims. The victims were unhurt. Around 5pm on the next day police intercepted a group in southwest Atlanta with multiple cars that had been carjacked in other places, including the one here in Midtown and another from Douglas County. One of the suspects had keys to additional vehicles that had been carjacked in other places. The arrestees extracted from the Midtown car (who were not necessarily the four culprits the night before) were ages 12, 16, 16 and 15 The arrestees pulled from the vehicle carjacked in Douglas County were ages 15, 16, and 20. The suspects all live in zip code 30311, in southwest Atlanta.
#152000000 – Glendale & 8th area – Misc. Serious Incident
[Summary from victim] “[We] I were awakened around 11:30pm by repeated knocking on our front door. We looked outside and saw 4 black men walking around our front and back yards. One in the back was walking around smoking and peering into our back windows. We called 911 and the police arrived within 2 minutes. Long story short — they caught and arrested 3 men, none of whom were armed but all have criminal records and prior convictions for burglary (2 are on probation). The police [told us] this was textbook casing and were certain they were going to break in — which apparently just happened in a very similar way in the 300 block of 9th St. While we were being interviewed, [We] also saw a gold minivan in front of our house idling before we called 911. About 20 minutes after the police left with the first 3 in custody, they came back and asked us to identify a minivan down the street (parked in front of a neighbor’s house). It was the same one [we] had seen. They found a 16-17 year old black male hiding in the van – which is registered to the grandmother of one of the other three. The police arrested that person as well. While I was walking home, he shouted “You’re dead” at me from the back of the police car. [We believe] a 5th person might be out there — the guy in the back she saw looked about 40 — but he wasn’t one of the people caught. (I’m guessing the van was going to be driven up our driveway).” MPSA note: A gun was found on the property of a nearby neighbor’s house, which leads us to believe that this crew may have had some very bad intentions. Three suspects were arrested in this incident, and we have identified two of them (the full police report will not be available until a later date). Their mugshots are below. Court records show Cory Roberts to be on active probation for burglary, and Jarquavious Pierce has a felony conviction for Theft.
Two of the arrestees from the Glendale & 8th incident
#151952327 – 800s Myrtle Street – 7/14/2015 – Burglary
[Summary] At 3:40pm on 7/14/2015 a home on Myrtle Street was burglarized and robbed while the homeowner was taking a nap with the dog upstairs. A thin, tall African Americam male around 18-20 years old with shoulder-length braids stole four laptops, and spent about 10-20 minutes in the house based on surveillance video. It is believed that he had prior knowledge of the home, which is currently under renovation. A video of the suspect is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRsy-uuXAS0, and still shots have been shared on Nextdoor.com.
#151940801 – 700s Monroe Drive – 7/13/2015 – Burglary
[Summary] On July 13, 2015 between 1:40 am and 3:30am, at least two men stoled thousands of dollars in computers from a commercial building in the 700 block of Monroe Drive. A video of the suspects is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuynlg5rFN0
#151893099 – 600s Durant – 7/09/2015 – Robbery
I Sgt. P**** responded to a pedestrian robbery call at 600s Durant Pl. Upon arrival I spoke with both victims, Mr. VICTIM1 and Mr. VICTIM2. They both stated that they were standing outside of their apartment smoking a cigarette when 3 black males walked up to them. One black male wearing a white t-shirt pulled out a sliver handgun and stated, “shut the fuck up and get on the ground.” One victim got on the ground and the other stood with his hands up. The other two suspects then went into the victims pockets. They took a Nexus 85, keys. wallet with ID, Visa Credit card, $47 and a pack of cigarettes from Mr. VICTIM2. They went through Mr. VICTIM1’s pockets, but he did not have any belongings on him. The suspects began to walk away. As they walked away they said he can have the cigarettes back and threw them on the ground. ID 7338 came out to the scene and processed the cigarette package. There is a halfway house on the corner that has cameras pointed towards where the suspects walked and possible captured them walking right before they committed the robbery. I spoke with the Georgia Corrections officer working inside, and he said that they would be able to pull the tape in the morning. Investigator 5529 came to the scene to debrief the victims. There was no injuries. Phoenix was raised and canvassed the area for the suspects.
#151893045 – 300s 8th Street – 7/08/2015 – Robbery
On 7/8/15 I was dispatched to a pedestrian robbery at 323 8th St NE. Upon arrival I spoke with Mr. VICTIM. Mr. VICTIM stated that he was outside his apartment and two black males came up on him and pulled a silver handgun on him. The males forced him to lay down and started stealing his property. They took an iPhone 65, Wallet with all credit cards, and a set of keys. Mr. VICTIM stated that both males where black males between the ages of 17-23. The male with the gun was wearing a white tank top and dark colored shorts, with a high-top fade. Mr. VICTIM stated he didn’t get a good look on the 2nd male. After the robbery he stated the males casually walked up 8th St towards Argonne Ave. CID 5529 was notiﬁed. No further action was taken at this time. MPSA NOTE: This incident was covered in media reports, which you can read at Project Q and at Midtown Patch.
#151870894 – 800s Penn Ave – 7/05/2015 – Robbery
Mr. A. VICTIM reported at the zone five precinct an incident of robbery. Mr. VICTIM stated to officer B****1 (desk officer) that he was walking in the area of his home (7-5- 2015 after 2200hrs.) on Penn Ave. NE when he was approached from behind by a black male subject who asked him for his phone. Mr. VICTIM said that the male suddenly pulled out a small gray color hand gun and pointed it at him and then rifled through his pockets. Mr. VICTIM advised that the male took his cellular phone and wallet and ran off–telling him repeatedly not to turn around. Mr. VICTIM wasn’t injured as a result of this incident. Mr. VICTIM said that on the following day 7-6-2015 at approximately 0800hrs., he found his wallet on his front porch – minus $25 cash. Mr. VICTIM offered no explanation as to why he did not call the police on 7-5-2015. officer B****1 contacted the zone five investigative unit (B****) who responded to the zone five mobile precinct and interviewed Mr. VICTIM.
#151862563 – 900s Argonne Ave – 7/05-2015 – Robbery
On July 5th, 2015 at 11:00 pm I was dispatched to 900s Argonne Ave NE regarding an armed pedestrian robbery. I arrived on scene at 11:05 pm and spoke to VICTIM whom stated that he was walking West on 8th St across Argonne Ave NE when someone suddenly came up behind him and put a gun to his neck, asking for whatever he had on him. Mr. VICTIM stated that he gave them his wallet and cell phone. Mr. VICTIM described the two males as black, young males. very early 20’s, one wearing a white shirt and red jeans. the other wearing dark clothing. The males ﬂed on foot west on Argonne Ave. The number to the stolen phone is: ###-###-####. No one was injured in this incident and Sgt. J**** was notified. General Investigator Unit 4380 responded to the scene and spoke to the victim. I was driving vehicle # 32416. There are no cameras in this area. Mr. VICTIM does not have a phone, however. his friend NNNN can contact him: ###### and his address is XXX xth St NE. This incident will be related to incident #151862561 which occurred only 1 minute prior to this at 800s Glendale Ave NE which is less than one block down the street.
#151862561 – 800s Glendale – 7/05/2015 – Robbery
On July 5th, 2015 at 11:00 pm I was dispatched to 890 Glendale Terrace NE regarding an armed pedestrian robbery. I arrived at the location at 11:05 pm and spoke to Mr. VICTIM. who stated that two black males approached him while he was walking on Glendale Terrace across 8th St NE. one with what appeared to be a gun in his hand, demanding whatever he had on him. Mr. VICTIM stated that all he had on him was his Black Apple iPhone 6 so he gave it to them and they ran away on foot. Mr. VICTIM stated that they were two young black males, wearing a white tank top/ t-shirt and red basketball shorts. The other male may have potentially had on dark colored shorts. The males were very young 20’s and ﬂed on foot North on 8th St and West on Argonne Ave. Mr. VICTIM stated that the iPhone had a cracked screen as well. Mr. VICTIM stated that he was tracking his iPhone using Apple ID: #### and the last known location for it was Peachtree St and 10th St NE, then the signal went dead. The stolen phone‘s # is #### No one was injured in this incident and Sgt Peters was notified. This incident will be related to case #151862563, the same suspects on both calls.
#151833071 – 300s 7th Street – 7/02/2015 – Robbery
Reported in separate bulletin at http://www.midtownponce.org/p6784.html
Let me begin by thanking Patti and Jeff Ellis for hosting Wednesday evening’s Midtown safety event. It was great to have the police officers there, including Zone 5 Commander Major Wayne Whitmire & Deputy Chief Joseph Spillane, as well as City Council Members Kwanza Hall and Alex Wan. It is important that we take last night’s concerns and energy, and do what we all can to make Midtown a safer place to live. As the new president of the Midtown Ponce Security Alliance, I would encourage you to join our organization if you are not already a member. Since its inception in 2003, MPSA has done a great deal to make Midtown safer, and will be offering additional ideas to address what I hear and believe to be the most immediate concerns: the spike in the number of armed robberies and home break-ins.
In the weeks and months ahead, we are going to be working hard on a membership drive to bring in more resources to MPSA. This will allow us to add to the currently budget 36 hours/week of patrolling being coordinated by retired Atlanta Police Department Sergeant Bill Cooper (concentrating even more on the times the armed robberies are occurring, late night/early morning). In addition, we are going to be working on increasing the number of homeowners with cameras. Based upon what I have learned to this point, a good camera system can be purchased and installed for less than $2,000.00. My wife and I are moving ahead with a camera system at our home on Charles Allen Drive. I would like to thank everyone who attended last night’s meeting and encourage you to join MPSA at a cost of $275.00/year for most homeowners. I look forward to working with you on the common goal of making Midtown an even better place to live.
President, Midtown Ponce Security Alliance
The Midtown Ponce Security Alliance now has a new president. Bill Nickles, who served for a year since Peggy Denby retired in 2014, had to step down due to commitments out of state. We are grateful for his service, and wish him all the best in Boston. We will miss him and reminded him that Midtown will always be a home for him.
After an exhaustive search, we recruited Guy Drexinger as our new president. He moved to Midtown from Marietta in 2014. As a CPA he was in a tax accounting practice with his father in the 1980s in East Cobb. After graduating from law school in 1992, he started a solo law practice in Downtown Marietta, specializing in estate administration, where he continues to work with his wife. He has been on a number of boards in Cobb County, was a County Administrator through the Cobb County Probate Court from 2000-2005, and ran a statewide campaign for Insurance Commissioner in 2006. He and his wife live on Charles Allen Drive, and their 24 year old daughter, Lauren, lives in Grant Park.
The MPSA board is now composed as follows (with year that they joined the MPSA board):
- President: Guy Drexinger (2015)
- Vice President: Steve Gower (2003)
- Treasurer: Ed Seemann (2008)
- Secretary: Jim Stapleton (2015)
- Board Member: Joe Vivona (2012)
- Board Member: Brad Edmonds (2013)
- Board Member: Chandra Stephens-Albright (2013)
- Board Member: Laura Brickell (2015)
- Board Member: Todd Ervin (2015)
- Advisory: Michael Floyd (2007)
- President Emerita: Peggy Denby (2003)
You will be hearing more from Guy very soon as we continue our long-standing dedication to a safe Midtown experience.
We are calling upon the Midtown community to share their views on how robberies (and particular those that perpetrate them) adversely affect the neighborhood we call home.
The facts of the case:
At approximately 10:25pm on July 2nd, a pedestrian robbery involving a gun occurred at Argonne & 7th. As police began to travel in that direction upon receiving the call over police radio, they spotted a vehicle matching the description of the offending vehicle. They intercepted the suspect vehicle approximately 45 seconds after the call was dispatched from radio. One of the males in the back seat had short dreadlocks as described over police radio. The officer continue following the vehicle until other police units caught up to the first officer. They then initiated a felony traffic stop at the Exxon Service Station located at 1521 Peachtree St NE. All 5 occupants were detained and placed into separate vehicles. The two victims were then brought to the scene where they positively identified one of the males, Demetrius Farrell, as the one who pointed the gun while demanding at gunpoint wallets and phones.
In the vehicle were five individuals (three males and two females) who were booked on armed robbery charges:
- Demetrius Farrell, 18 years old
- Teairra Locket, 21 years old
- Tiamra Smith, 17 years old (charged as adult)
- Darrell Farrell, 19 years old (no evident relation to the other Farrell given their birthdays are only four months apart)
- A Juvenile, name withheld, 16 years old.
The four adults (or charged as such) were booked into the Fulton County jail and remain there as of this writing. The juvenile was placed into a juvenile detention facility.
Community Impact Statement:
We take the position that whoever robs any Midtowner robs all of us. Over the course of court proceedings we plan to present a community impact statement on behalf of the Midtown community. We have been inordinately afflicted with armed robberies in recent weeks, and wish for this statement to be driven by the sentiments of the Midtown community. Our goal is to incapacitate these criminals for a very long time and thereby prevent further victimization.
A community impact statement urges the sentencing judge to give serious consideration to the community detrimentally affected by the crime perpetrated by the defendant in question. It does not come into play until a conviction is established. We routinely present community impact statements as part of our court watch participation, and have found them to be effective in addressing specific criminals plaguing our neighborhood.
Call to Action:
We therefore would like to hear from folks in the neighborhood about what robberies mean to us. What does it mean to us that these individuals came into our neighborhood and placed two of our neighbors in genuine fear of their lives? What example should be set by the sentencing judge in this case, should these individuals be convicted? Please post your thoughts at the Facebook version of this post, at the Nextdoor.com version of this post, or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
* * * *
Below are the mugshots of the suspects, followed by the full (but redacted) police report narrative in this case.
#151833071 – 300s 7th Street – 7/02/2015 – ROBBERY
[Official police report narrative (redacted)] On 7/2/15 at approximately 10:25pm I, Ofﬁcer L**** and Ofﬁcer P**** were patrolling in the area of 4th St NE and Piedmont Ave NE. While patrolling in the area of the above location we overheard radio advise of a pedestrian robbery involving a gun just occurred at Argonne St and 7th St. Officer P**** and I, Ofﬁcer L**** then immediately began to travel in that direction. We then turned right onto 7th St from Piedmont Ave NE. While approaching Argonne St after passing Penn Ave we observed a black 4 door sedan making a right turn onto Argonne St from 7th St. We intercepted the suspect vehicle approximately 45 seconds after the call was dispatched from radio. We then proceeded behind the vehicle observing no license plate on the vehicle.
While behind the vehicle traveling North on Argonne Ave, Ofﬁcer P**** stated that one of the males in the back seat had short dreadlocks as described over the radio of part of the description provided by the victim later identiﬁed as Mr. VICTIM1. Once we advised radio of what we had and our direction of travel. Sgt B**** of the Zone 5 CID office advised over radio that the description of a vehicle that was involved in several prior pedestrian robberies that occurred in the same location area was a dark colored sedan, 4 doors that appeared to resemble a compact style vehicle with three male suspects. Upon following the vehicle we awaited for another unit to arrive as the suspects were allegedly believed to be armed. Several other units arrived on scene behind me as backup as the black Saturn 4-door sedan turned right into the Exxon Service Station located at 1521 Peachtree St NE. I then initiated a felony trafﬁc stop with my blue lights and sirens activated. Once the vehicle stopped in the parking lot I then maintained a covered position with my city issued service weapon at the low ready and gave verbal commands for the occupants to exit the vehicle.
Once all 5 occupants were detained and the vehicle was then secured we observed a dark gray revolver underneath of the passenger front seat on the floor. I then advised radio that we recovered a firearm. Officer P**** then advised Crime Scene Unit to respond to the location to process the vehicle, ﬁrearm, ﬁngerprints and photographs. While awaiting for Crime Scene to arrive on scene we then identified all of the occupants. There were three males and two females. The driver of the vehicle identified as Mr. Gary Darrell FARRELL (Arrestee) was wearing a white t shirt with blue short style pants with short hair. Mr. Gary FARRELL provided police with a false date of birth on scene of x/xx/xxxx later to be determined as x/xx/xxxx. Mr. FARRELL was not licensed and had no valid identification on his persons. Mr. FARRELL stated they were just driving around looking for a party.
Once they were unable to locate the party, the passenger Ms. LOCKETT stated she wanted to go to a bar. The front passenger Ms. Teairra LOCKETT (Arrestee) stated on scene that she had no idea what was going on and they didn‘t do anything. The vehicle belonged to Ms. LOCKETT’s boyfriend later determined by contacting the aunt of the registered owner. The rear left passenger Mr. Demetrius Jerome FARRELL (Arrestee) was wearing a white tank top with dark blue pants rolled up to his knees with short dreadlocks. Mr. Demetrius FARRELL provided police with his ID card. The back seat middle passenger Mr. JUVENILE (Arrestee) was wearing a gray tank top with dark black jeans and short dreadlocks. Mr. JUVENILE stated that he was 16 years old and doesn’t have a valid ID card yet. The rear right passenger Ms. Tiambra SMITH (Arrestee) was wearing a green shirt with blue jean shorts. Ms. SMITH provided police with her identification card on scene. Once all the subjects were identified Inv. W**** and Sgt. B**** arrived on scene to assist with the investigation. Once the scene was secured Sgt. Poole was able to locate one of the victims Mr. VICTIM2 who was present while this offense took place. Sgt. Poole then relocated back to the Exxon service station with Mr. VICTIM2 (Victim) for a show up. Once on scene, the subjects were then taken outside of the patrol vehicles one at a time so the victim could give an accurate identification. The first male that was taken out of the vehicle was Mr. Demetrius FARRELL. The victim positively identiﬁed Mr. Demetrius FARRELL as the suspect who pointed the gun at his friend and demanded the phone and wallet. Mr. Gary FARRELL and Mr. JUVENILE were then taken out of the vehicle separately and the victim was unable to identify them as he stated that he was paying attention to Mr. Demetrius FARRELL while he had a gun pointed at him. Approximately 30 minutes later the other victim was located and transported to the Exxon station for a show up. Once arrived on scene the show up was performed in the same manner as with the other victim. Mr. VICTIM1 positively identified Mr. Demetrius FARRELL as the suspect who robbed him with a gun. The victim was unsure of the other suspects. Crime Scene arrived on scene moments later and processed the vehicle, gun and rounds for fingerprints as well as photographs. Once Crime Scene was completed a search of the vehicle was then conducted revealing a HP laptop that belongs to Atlanta Public Schools in the back seat. Also recovered [four] .22 caliber long rifle rounds on the floor behind the passenger seat. Property and evidence was then collected and later turned into police property. The vehicle was then impounded to A-Tow.
All 5 subjects were then transported to the Zone 5 CID precinct for debriefing. The two females stated that they have nothing to say and remained silent. Mr. Gary FARRELL stated that they were out driving around going to a party. Mr. Gary FARRELL also stated that he has no idea what happened and denied any involvement in this incident. Mr. Demetrius FARRELL stated to police that he will speak with police. Mr. Demetrius FARRELL stated that they were driving and they stopped to get some wings at the wing place. Mr. Demetrius FARRELL then stated they came back to pick him up from the wing place. He also stated that he was not involved with this incident. Mr. JUVENILE (Arrestee) stated that he was picked up from his home located on Flat Shoals RD. Mr. JUVENILE stated that he had no idea this incident was going to take place and he did not partake in this crime.
Based upon all of the facts discovered in this case it was determined that the suspect vehicle pulled up in the area of the robbery. The vehicle parked on 7th St NE facing west in between Argonne Ave and Durant Pl. Mr. Demetrius FARRELL exited out from the driver side rear with the firearm, approached the two victims and robbed them at gun point. Then after committing the offense he then returned back to the suspect vehicle to flee the scene. The victim observed the male get back into the dark colored sedan and then travel west on 7th St making a right turn onto Argonne Ave prior to police interception. All the suspects were then placed under arrest and interviewed. Suspects were then transported to the Fulton County Jail. Mr. JUVENILE however is a juvenile so therefore his mother was called and she arrived at the precinct to speak with police as well as consent to her son cooperating with police. Mr. JUVENILE was mirandized in the presence of his mother and stated he would consent in talking with police. Mr. JUVENILE provided 3 different conﬂicting statements to police during the interview. This interview was conducted at the Zone 5 CNN Center precinct with a audio recording device. Mr. JUVENILE was then taken to get ﬁnger printed and photographed by Ofﬁcer P****.
I then secured the arrest warrants for the arrestees. Mr. Demetrius FARRELL was charged with Armed Robbery (16-8-41) and Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Felony (16-11-106). Ms. Teairra LOCKETT. Mr. Gary FARRELL, Ms. Tiambra SMITH and Mr. JUVENILE were charged with parties to a crime of Armed Robbery (16-8-41). Mr. JUVENILE was then transported to the Metro Regional Youth Detention Center.