• 59°

Quick Buys robbers arrested

Three men have been arrested in connection with the Dec. 1 robbery of Quick Buys convenience store on Whigham Dairy Road, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Between 4 and 5 a.m. Wednesday, a mail carrier called police after witnessing a robbery occurring at Yesterday’s Diner in Cairo, Ga. Police arrived in time to catch Walter Franklin Sapp, 21, of Decatur County, and another male running to a getaway car, according to Sheriff’s Office investigators. Sapp, the other male and the getaway car’s female driver were all arrested by Cairo police, Sheriff’s Investigator Redell Walton said.

Investigator Walton and Lt. Chip Nix obtained a confession from Sapp as to his involvement in the Dec. 1 robbery of the Quick Buys store on Whigham Dairy Road in Bainbridge.

On Thursday night, Sheriff’s investigators arrested William Burke, 19, of 2700 Newton Road in Bainbridge, and Levar Anderson, 21, of 519 Old Pelham Road in Bainbridge, in connection with the Dec. 1 robbery.

“We have physical evidence from the crime scene, and we recovered other items that linked them [Burke and Anderson] to the robbery,” Investigator Walton said.

Both Burke and Anderson were charged with two counts of armed robbery and one count of kidnapping.

Warrant served also nets drug arrest

While serving a warrant, an alert sheriff’s deputy apprehended an individual in possession of 14 small baggies of suspected marijuana on Dec. 15, according to an incident report.

Decatur County Sheriff’s Deputy Vincent Edmonds went to 1626 Bethel Road in Bainbridge to serve a warrant on 37-year-old Lori Ann Harris.

Arriving at the home, the deputy observed two black males standing on the front porch. In the incident report he noted, “the strong odor of burning marijuana coming from the area of the two black males.”

Edmonds knocked on the front door and spoke with Harris, asking her who at the residence was smoking marijuana. She said she didn’t know, at which time, one of the males, 21-year-old Rashal Demarcus Christian, stepped off the porch and began to walk away. Edmonds told Christian to come back and asked him the same question. He said he did not live at the home and also didn’t know who was smoking marijuana, according to the incident report. Christian gave consent to be searched and a bag containing 14 small bags of marijuana was found in his pocket.

Christian of 1408 Bethel Road in Bainbridge was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

Harris was arrested on a warrant for failure to send child to school.

Keeping your vehicle safe

The holiday season is traditionally a time of increased numbers of theft-related crimes. Larceny from vehicles or car break-ins are no exception.

Bainbridge Public Safety Investigator Mark Esquivel provided some tips to keep your vehicle and belongings a little safer during the holidays.

“Approximately 90 percent of entering autos reported are cars that are left unlocked,” Esquivel said. “It is the small things that will help deter these types of incidents.”

Many thieves simply walk by vehicles and attempt to open the doors, moving on if the car is locked, the investigator explained.

He also encourages people not to leave valuable belongings, like purses, wallets and money, in plain sight.

“When Christmas shopping, don’t leave gifts in the front seats, place them in the trunk,” Esquivel said.

Also, leaving an outside light on at night may help deter car break-ins.

Items reported stolen from vehicles in November and December, according to incident reports, include money, firearms, jewelry, CDs, CD players/stereos, a DVD player, car speakers, a wallet, purses, clothing and a GPS navigation system.

Law enforcements prepare for holidays

Local law enforcement will be stepping up their patrols for the holiday season.

The Decatur County Sheriff’s Department will be conducting Operation Safe Holiday as they increase efforts to keep businesses safe.

Sheriff Wiley Griffin said deputies will be frequently visiting stores and businesses in Bainbridge and Decatur County to show police presence to try and prevent robberies. Being aware that holiday parties involving alcohol will be taking place, Griffin said deputies will also be watching for impaired drivers.

“It is definitely a good idea to use a designated driver because there will be zero tolerance for drunk driving during the holidays,” Griffin said.

Bainbridge Public Safety Patrol Commander Major Walter Landrum said officers will be paying close attention to businesses and vehicles to prevent burglaries and break-ins. He encourages those attending holiday parties and drinking to designate a sober driver.

Local law enforcement won’t be the only officers on the lookout for drunk drivers.

Georgia State Troopers are cautioning anyone who will be hosting or attending a holiday party this year to plan ahead and make sure they have a designated driver.

“Now through the end of the year is a period when law enforcement officers see an increase in the number of impaired drivers on Georgia roads,” said GSP Commander Colonel Bill Hitchens. “Often the impaired driver has been to a holiday party and didn’t plan for a designated driver.”

He said troopers and officers will not hesitate to arrest an impaired driver and tow their vehicle.

“It is not uncommon for law enforcement officers to encounter an impaired driver this time of year on weekday afternoons,” he said. “That is why we remind drivers to concentrate on safe driving practices on every trip they make.”

The Georgia Department of Transportation reports that many fatal holiday crashes involve drivers impaired either by drugs or alcohol, or a combination of both. DOT Crash Reporting Unit data shows eight of the 18 traffic deaths last Christmas involved alcohol or drug impaired drivers, and six of the 14 fatalities in passenger vehicles were not wearing safety belts.

“Police will be out in force conducting sobriety checkpoints and concentrated patrols throughout the holidays and then some,” said Georgia Office of Highway Safety Director Bob Dallas. “And we’re even telling motorists what days to watch out for blue lights from Dec. 19 through Jan. 4. Because in Georgia, it’s not about writing more tickets … it’s about saving more lives. Over the Limit. Under Arrest.”