By Patrick Yost
The Monday arrest of three Hephzibah men, officials hope, may have been an important beginning to stopping a recent spate of vehicle break-ins in Morgan County.
According to Lt. Brandon Sellers, Investigations Division, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, three suspects were arrested without incident after officials used information gleaned from a vehicle license reader system recently installed in the Morgan Estates subdivision.
Sellers said the system was able to capture the license tag of a white Nissan Altima entering the subdivision at 11:09 a.m. on July 30. The vehicle is registered to the mother of Jamarious Detente Rogers, 24, Hephzibah. Rogers, along with Anthony Demetrious Weaver, 24, were both arrested Monday at approximately 4:30 p.m. in conjunction with the Richmond Sheriff’s Office and charged with one count each of entering auto.
Sellers said more than 40 vehicles have been entered in Morgan County in recent weeks. Along with the arrest, he said, a pistol taken from the Morgan Estates incident was recovered. He also said a truck stolen from the Reids Ferry area was located within a mile of Rogers’ residence.
Sellers and Chief Deputy Keith Howard are crediting, in part, the surveillance system Flock license plate reader of providing a start to the investigation.
The system, Howard said, not only reads the license plates of vehicles entering and leaving the subdivision it also provides make, color and time and collects data for up to 30 days. Investigators used that data to trace Rogers’ vehicle to the subdivision.
“We’re proud to work with Morgan County an their neighborhoods to stop crime,” said Flock Safety CEO Garrett Langley. “When the community and the police invest in technology and work together to capture license plate info– like what happened with the Morgan County Sherif’s Office– we create a safer community, one neighborhood at a time.”
All three suspects were being detained at the Morgan County Detention Center at press time Tuesday.
Sellers said five different Morgan County neighborhoods have experience car break-ins in the past 30 days including three neighborhoods in Buckhead. A total of 12 pistols have been removed from vehicles. A vast majority of the vehicles entered were not locked, reports state.
“Right now we can connect them with Morgan Estates,” Sellers said. He said the three suspects are also believed to be connected with break-ins on Heidi Trail and Reids Ferry Road.
Sellers said when the break-ins started at the Buckhead Manor subdivision, authorities added protection. “We increased patrols, we had investigators doing surveillance… we needed a break and go tif from the Flock system.”
Howard said after the department gathered the Flock data it “used 21 Century technology to our advantage.”