Two arrested for auto break-ins

Published 9:48 pm Friday, April 23, 2010

Two youth were arrested by local law enforcement and charged with breaking into vehicles and stealing property, in two unrelated incidents occurring this past week.

On Tuesday, BPS Investigator Mark Esquivel arrested Garrett Rudy Nichols, 19, of Donalsonville, and charged him with theft by receiving stolen property and two counts of entering an auto.

According to Esquivel, BPS received several reports of vehicles being broken into in the parking lot of an apartment complex on Hubert Dollar Drive, sometime during the night of April 13-14.

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Esquivel said he gathered descriptions of the property stolen from the cars—including car stereo equipment—and checked with local pawn shops. Esquivel identified Nichols as having sold some of the stolen property and brought him in for questioning. Esquivel said Nichols confessed to eight of the auto break-ins.

Last Saturday, April 18, Sheriff’s deputies received numerous reports of auto break-ins occurring on Hales Landing Road and Mount Olive Church Road sometime on Friday night and early Saturday, according to Sheriff’s Investigator Redell Walton.

“The thief only targeted unlocked cars, bypassing ones that were locked,” Walton said.

After receiving multiple reports of stolen property in the same area, Walton and fellow deputies took a closer look and discovered a waffle-pattern shoe print left behind at several of the crime scenes. Sheriff Wiley Griffin called for the assistance of tracking dogs from the Apalachee Correctional Institute in Sneads, Fla., who led deputies to a nearby residence where some of the stolen property was recovered, Walton said.

Walton said deputies arrested Noe Villegas, 17, of Quincy, Fla., whose sister owned the residence the dogs tracked to, and charged him with entering auto and consumption of alcohol by a minor.

Police chief involved in accident

A 17-year-old boy was injured after he was accidentally struck by a patrol car driven by Attapulgus Police Chief James Earl Spooner on the afternoon of April 17, according to a Georgia State Patrol accident report.

Spooner was in the process of warning the boy to stay off the road when the boy drove forward suddenly as if to flee. Spooner drove forward to block the teen from leaving and accidentally struck the ATV. The patrol car pushed the ATV forward and the teen became pinned between the two vehicles. The teen was taken to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital by ambulance for visible injuries, reportedly including a possible broken leg.

Under Georgia law, it is illegal to drive all-terrain vehicles onto public roads.