By Joe Johnson
A Barrow County man was arrested this week for allegedly participating in a statewide crime spree that involved burglaries of state Department of Natural Resources wildlife management area, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced Friday.
Equipment valued at approximately $50,000 was stolen in the burglaries that occurred between May and September this year, according to the GBI.
Parker Lewis Dean, 20, of Braselton was arrested Monday and charged with theft by receiving stolen property, the GBI said.
An alleged accomplice, 22-year-old James Arthur Graham of Lawrenceville was arrested Wednesday on the same charge, the GBI said.
The GBI said its Cleveland field office was originally requested to investigate burglaries at wildlife management areas in Stephens, Dawson, and Lumpkin counties in June 2019.
“As the investigation evolved, it was determined that additional burglaries occurred, both before the GBI investigation and during the investigation, in Hart, Putnam, Burke, Greene, McDuffie, Bartow, Marion and Dooly Counties,” the GBI said
“The similarities between the burglaries led investigators to believe the same people were responsible for the burglaries identified in the investigation,” the GBI stated in a media release.
Dean and Graham were also believed to be responsible for a burglary at the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, according to the GBI.
The statewide law enforcement agency did not indicate what was stolen in the burglaries, but it said that “the majority of the items have been recovered as a result of search warrants done in Gwinnett and Barrow Counties this week.”
When asked what was stolen in the burglaries, GBI Director of Public Affairs Nelly Miles said, " No additional details are available for release at this time." Additional charges for both Graham and Dean were expected, the GBI said, and upon completion of the investigation, the case file will be provided to the Georgia Attorney General’s Office for prosecution.