The Monroe County sheriff’s office appears to have ended a spree of entering autos and gun thefts in and around Forsyth with a 3-month sting operation that led to 14 arrests last Thursday.
“They’ve gone way down,” said sheriff Brad Freeman. “It was very, very successful.”
Homeowners near Johnstonville Road, King Road and in the country club area in town have been hit especially hard with a number of auto breakins in recent months. Fed up, Freeman created a special unit of three investigators, more patrolmen with help from the U.S. Marshals SE Regional Fugitive Task Force to try to solve the crimes. It was dubbed Operation: Silent Bang.
“We had to do something,” said Freeman.
The unit identified three separate groups involved in the auto break-ins in Monroe County and after making some traffic stops at night and questioning some suspects, they eventually secured warrants to charge 14 people on 64 different charges in the early morning hours of Thursday, Sept. 5. Thirteen of them were arrested while one is still at large. While making those arrests, deputies got permission to search homes and recovered six of the stolen guns and two stolen cars. The investigation is continuing.
Freeman said the sting was manpower intensive but said it has paid off. While the sheriff’s office was getting 1-2 auto breakins reported every week, there have not been any such reports since then.
Among those arrested and charged in Operation: Silent Bang are:
• Khalil Alford, 19, Forsyth, theft by taking, entering auto with intent to steal, criminal attempt, use of communication facility in commission of a felony involving drugs
• Jamarcus Malik James, 19, Forsyth, loitering or prowling
• Tamerisk Jones, 19, Forsyth, entering automobile or other motor vehicle with intent to commit theft, theft by taking, criminal attempt
• Kenneth Dewayne Truett, 27, Jackson, entering automobile or other motor vehicle with intent to commit theft, theft by taking
• Michael Lee Newberry, 36, Jackson, entering auto with intent to commit theft, theft by taking
• Cierra Taylor Morgan, 21, Jackson, use of a communication facility in the commission of a felony involving drugs
• Kendall Head, 27, Forsyth, use of a communication facility in the commission of a felony involving drugs
• Brenden Scott, 19, Forsyth, use of a communication facility in the commission of a felony involving drugs
• Travis Cody Wilson, 18, use of a communication facility in the commission of a felony involving drugs
• Ronald Marvin Walkup, 30, Culloden, theft by deception
• John Johnson, 18, Forsyth, armed robbery
• Zaquarious Hart, 18, Forsyth, entering auto, obstruction, armed robbery
• Tamerisk Jones, 19, Forsyth, entering auto (6 counts), theft by taking (6 counts)
One suspect, Christopher Bailey, is still at large.