September 13, 2013

Juveniles arrested in alleged crime spree

Submitted by Sheriff Scott Chitwood

— The Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office has identified and charged a group of juveniles responsible for a two-month crime spree that involved burglaries, thefts and stealing vehicles, including one taxi.

The sheriff's office identified their criminal activity starting around the first of July and going until the end of August. Six individuals responsible for the activity have been charged in Juvenile Court.

One of the six (John Parrish) turned 17 and has been charged as an adult. The other juveniles are 15, 16, and three are 14. Most of the time two or three of these juveniles would meet and go out and commit criminal activity, on other nights one from the original group would meet with one or more different juveniles from their group and they would go out and commit criminal activity. Different ones would go out together on different evenings to break in and prowl through cars or steal cars.

Their criminal activity occurred in different areas of the county and also inside the city limits of Dalton. Members of the group have admitted to entering at least 100 vehicles at Walnut Square Mall and in neighborhoods throughout the county. On many of the instances they only stole small items such as change, cigarette lighters or chewing gum. The majority of these cases were unnoticed by the victim and not reported.

Members of the group stole a taxi that was parked at a residence on Hill Road, a vehicle from Miller Grove Drive, a vehicle from Frontier Trail, a vehicle from Hunters Circle, two vehicles during a burglary at M&D Auto Sales on Cleveland Road, and a vehicle from Wheat Drive in Varnell. Members of the group are also charged with breaking into cars and stealing items from cars parked at residences during the night. The vehicles were broken into at Ponders Drive, Frontier Trail, Kinnett Drive and two vehicles on Lynn Drive.

Three members of the group are also charged with criminal trespass for attempting to enter the Compassion House on Hill Road through a window one evening. The subjects fled when an alarm was activated. During their crime spree one of the juveniles was arrested for some of the thefts and placed out at the Regional Youth Detention Center. He was released the next week to return to school. Upon returning to school he was discovered stealing an iPad from the school. He has been charged with this theft also.

Some of the group first came under suspicion when one of the cars stolen from M&D was involved in an accident on Aug. 17 around 1 a.m. on Pleasant Grove Drive. The occupants from the vehicle fled on foot. A deputy later located part of the group walking in the area. The investigation is ongoing to try and identify all the criminal activity these individuals have been involved in.