By Joe Johnson
When a large group of would-be thieves tried to break into an Athens sporting goods store that sold guns at the same time police were dealing with protesters and civil disturbances downtown early Monday morning, officers were ready to foil the would-be looters’ plans, according to Athens-Clarke police.
“While mitigating the potential for harm to persons and property in the district, ACCPD received warnings that burglaries may occur at several stores throughout the county.” police said in a Tuesday media release. “These burglaries were to occur given the erroneous assumption that most of the police department’s resources and personnel would be unavailable to address crimes in progress as officers would be actively assisting in the downtown district.
“Given the intelligence that burglaries were likely to occur, and since it is a common practice for thieves to target gun stores during large protest events, ACCPD gave advanced warning to store owners as to allow for items to be secured and mitigate the potential for harm. In addition, ACCPD officers actively monitored potential burglary targets, inclusive of firearms shops, throughout the night,” the release stated.
Lt. John Radford, Uniform Patrol West Division commander said that several officer were assigned to "quick response units" that would race to burglaries.
At about 12:44 a.m., police said they were notified of a burglary in process at the Academy Sports + Outdoors at 3505 Atlanta Highway.
“As marked patrol units were already actively monitoring the area, officers were able to quickly disrupt the burglary in progress and observe suspects fleeing the store in a silver sedan traveling at a high rate of speed,” police said.
“While uniform patrol officers attempted to locate the fleeing sedan, an additional responding officer observed the sedan wrecked and several suspects running into a wooded area adjacent to Timothy Road. After a brief search of the woods, officers were able to locate and arrest 13 suspects. All suspects were transported to the Clarke County Jail and booked on charges of burglary, fleeing and attempting to elude, and damage to property.
The suspects were identified Athens residents Omorion Genetavis Bell, 1`7; Adrian Terrell Johnson, 17; Jaiquez Antonio Smith, 18; Ethan Bryce Palmer, 17; Scotty Randolph, 17; Jonathan Tyreek Edwards, 17;Omar Yay Lester, 18; Anthony Thompson, 17; Christian Argeins Flores, 18;Douglas Nathaniel Clark, 18; Michael Robert Stephens, 17;and Adrian Terrell Johnson, 17.
The suspects were identified Athens residents Omorion Genetavis Bell, 17; Adrian Terrell Johnson, 17; Jaiquez Antonio Smith, 18; Ethan Bryce Palmer, 17; Scotty Randolph, 17; Jonathan Tyreek Edwards, 17;Omar Yay Lester, 18; Anthony Thompson, 17; Christian Argeins Flores, 18;Douglas Nathaniel Clark, 18; Michael Robert Stephens, 17;and Adrian Terrell Johnson, 17.