Stop to String of Burglaries

A string of convenience store burglaries going on for months across south Georgia may have been put to a stop. Law enforcement officials in the Rose City made several arrests.

Investigators say after a brief high-speed chase around 3:30 Wednesday morning, seven men were caught red-handed with stolen goods from two convenience stores that had just been broken into.

It's business as usual for the Quick Buys food store in Ochlocknee. Burglars broke in here and a few miles down Highway 19 at Aden's convenience store in Pelham early Wednesday morning, but thanks to the vigilance of dispatchers and a Thomas County sergeant, investigators say they've got the suspects in custody.

LT Tim Watkins with the Thomas County Sheriff's Office says, "As he was going up to Ochlocknee he noticed there was two cars together going at a high rate of speed. He radioed back to a deputy to see if there was multiple occupants in the car."

With the help of Thomasville police, deputies pulled the cars over and pulled out seven Moultrie men along with money investigators say was stolen from the two stores.

Investigators say the men may also have been caught on tape. State of the art new surveillance systems have been installed at 14 Quick Buys stores in south Georgia. With new technology, store managers hope to deter burglars and make it easier to identify those that do get in.

Ronnie Dearcey, District Supervisor for Quick Buys, says, "The technology of this thing is really amazing. It has the ability to log and you can go back and retrieve it, you can put it all on hard drive and it can be burned into a disk."

LT Watkins adds, "It will give you great clothing descriptions, detailed clothing descriptions of what each person was wearing and we think we'll know who was doing what based on what everyone was wearing."

Investigators say the way both of Wednesday morning's burglaries were carried out is similar to several other area convenience store break-ins in the last few months and they hope the arrests will put a stop to them.

Investigators say the suspects were denied bond at their arraignment Wednesday afternoon. They're being held in the Thomas County Jail, charged with one count of burglary each.

Thomas County investigators say other agencies may press charges, depending on whether or not these suspects truly are the ones who burglarized stores in Boston, Barwick, Pavo and Moultrie.