Bainbridge sees summer spike in burglaries, theft

Published 10:25 pm Tuesday, June 23, 2015

In the last two weeks, two dozen thefts, burglaries and entering autos were reported to Bainbridge Public Safety.

Items stolen have included everything from TVs to vehicles, and incidents have been reported all over the city.

Some of those were unfounded or closed due to lack of evidence, but many are active and under investigation. About half of the reported incidents were burglaries. There have also been at lease eight thefts at homes or businesses, and five of those are felony offenses, according to incident reports.

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Bainbridge Public Safety investigator Captain Mark Esquivel said that increases in such crimes are common in summer when school is out and a large migrant population is in the area.

“Locals know that the migrants are working in the morning,” Esquivel said, “so a lot of what [gets reported] is from them.”

Esquivel said that he doesn’t think there is one factor contributing to the thefts and burglaries, especially because all of the incidents are so widespread, but he said that the same individual might have committed some of the offenses.

“The guy we arrested for the stolen car is [a suspect] in some of the entering autos,” Esquivel said.

Esquivel said that BPS is trying to combat the problem by increasing neighborhood patrols and conducing more field interviews, especially at night, but some nights conducting field interviews is tough when officers are responding to back-to-back calls on busy nights.

“It’s tough, and we’ll end up locking a couple of people, and we’ll see it slow down a bit because we may have gotten a couple of the main guys,” Esquivel said.

According to Georgia code, the difference between a burglary and theft by taking depends from where the property was stolen.

“A person commits the offense of burglary in the first degree when, without authority and with the intent to commit a felony or theft therein, he or she enters or remains within an occupied, unoccupied, or vacant dwelling house of another or any building, vehicle, railroad car, watercraft, aircraft, or other such structure designed for use as the dwelling of another,” O.C.G.A. § 16-7-1 reads.

Whereas the “theft by taking” offense defined in O.C.G.A. § 16-8-2 is much more general, stating, “A person commits the offense of theft by taking when he unlawfully takes or, being in lawful possession thereof, unlawfully appropriates any property of another with the intention of depriving him of the property, regardless of the manner in which the property is taken…”