LOCK IT UP - The sheriff's office urges you to lock your car at home and take valuables inside.
Sheriff investigators suspect that the group who illegally entered 20 cars in two subdivisions off Worley Crossroads Saturday may be better organized and potentially more dangerous than the typical teens who pilfer from unlocked vehicles.
The Pickens Sheriff’s Office reported over the weekend that “during the early morning hours of Saturday, Aug. 24th, Pickens County experienced a rash of entering-auto criminal activity. Two particular neighborhoods, Wild Timber and Winchester Oaks, were targeted. More than 20 vehicles were illegally entered by unknown individuals, resulting in various stolen property, including firearms. One 2019 Ford Explorer was stolen, and later recovered, in the metro-Atlanta area.”
Coordinating with law enforcement agents in Forsyth, Bartow and Cherokee counties, Sheriff Donnie Craig said they believe the group that broke into the cars is the same one that has hit other areas and they are well-organized, coming from the metro area, specifically looking for “easy” unlocked cars in rural areas.
The sheriff said they are gathering more intel jointly with surrounding county officials, but “these aren’t believed to be local guys.”
And he said they may have particularly been looking for firearms left in vehicles and should certainly be considered armed and dangerous. When asked if they are stealing the firearms to re-sell, the sheriff said they may be keeping the weapons for other criminal activity.
“They are a group of young males with weapons. I would strongly encourage citizens to call 911 and let us handle this,” he said.
Specifically, the sheriff advises if anyone believes there is a prowler or someone going into their vehicle they should turn on their lights and call 911 immediately.
Also, Craig pointed out the need for everyone to lock vehicles and remove valuables, particularly firearms, when they park for the evening. When asked about the percentage of local people who leave vehicles unlocked, he responded by noting, “well, they found 20 in two subdivisions.”
Craig emphasized that these people are coming here because they know in rural areas we leave stuff, including weapons, in our cars and don’t lock vehicles. He also pointed out the vehicle that was stolen had the keys in it.
“Don’t volunteer to be a victim,” he said. “Lock your car and remove your valuables.”
Video from targeted
In a statement on Facebook, the sheriff’s office “is requesting assistance from the community in helping with this investigation. If you currently reside in either of the two neighborhoods affected (Wild Timber, Winchester Oaks), and your home has any type of video surveillance system in place, please contact our Criminal Investigations Division at 706-253-8935. Your video surveillance system(s) may have captured images or footage that would be beneficial to our investigation.