Two Gadsden County teens linked to numerous area break-ins, including eight in Liberty County, two in Calhoun County, six in Jackson County (along with one attempt) and two in Gadsden County, were arrested last week.
Xavier Darcus Parks, 18, and Keldrick Wilson, 17, who live in the Sawdust Community, are each charged with one count of armed burglary, one count of burglary and two counts of grand theft, according to Major Donnie Branch of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. He confirmed Tuesday that Wilson, who is a minor but has been charged as an adult, was released on $50,000 bond Monday.
Additional charges are expected against the two in Jackson County as well as surrounding counties, Branch said.
Parks and Wilson’s arrest was a combination of luck and hard work, according to Capt. Michael Bryant of the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office. “We
had been working on it for two weeks and started concentrating on the vehicle,” he said. “We created our own luck by being there, working and beating the bushes.”
For the two young suspects, it was a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time last week when they stopped at a Chattahoochee convenience store where five lawmen had gathered to discuss the investigation.
Bryant and Investigator Todd Wheetley of the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office pulled up alongside a second unmarked vehicle with Investigator Mark Mallory of the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office and Jackson County Investigator Jason McAlpin around 10:30 a.m. Feb. 15. They parked driver’s window-to-driver’s window as they discussed the case. Gadsden County Investigator Kevin Godwin pulled up nearby, walked over and stood between the vehicles as the men talked.
When a car pulled up at the front door of the BP on Hwy. 90, someone in the group commented, “There’s our suspect vehicle there.” Bryant said they didn’t take the comment seriously at first but everyone looked at the dark green four-door Honda that matched reports of the car seen near homes that were robbed.
“What caught our eye was that he pulled up at an angle, right to the front door,” said Bryant. The driver kicked his door open and when he stepped outside, they realized he matched the description given the previous day by Lamar Holland in Bristol. He was also wearing the same white pullover Holland had told them about.
Branch said the car was registered to one of the suspect’s aunts.
A news release from the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office described the arrest:
Investigators identified themselves as they approached the vehicle. The driver tried to pull out but was blocked by Sneads Police Chief Burt McAlpin. As the men made contact with suspects Parks and Wilson, they noticed two handguns at the feet of the passenger. A box filled with jewelry and some cash was on the console.
Shoe soles worn by both suspects were examined at the scene and found to match impressions taken at the crime scenes. Treads from the car’s mismatched tires matched up with photos of tire tracks at homes in several counties where break-ins were reported.
Two break-ins had taken place in Jackson County earlier that morning, according to Branch, who said a gun found in the car was identified as being taken from one of those burglaries that morning.
Bryant said a third suspect who had pawned some of the stolen property was identified Monday.
An eyewitness in Liberty County reported seeing the dark green Honda on Joe Chason Circle in Bristol at 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 6, the day that three homes were broken-into, including one on SR 20 in Bristol and two on CR 67. An alarm activated at the last house showed the final burglary happened around 2:23 p.m, according to the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office.
According to the news release, evidence indicates that on Feb. 14, Wilson and Parks started in Franklin County and traveled into Liberty County where they hit four homes, two on CR 379 and two on NW CR 12 before pulling up at the Spring Street residence of Lamar Holland in Bristol.
Holland and one of the would-be robbers saw each other through a window and the suspect fled. Holland gave a description of the car and clothing one of the suspects wore. A neighbor noticed the car before it pulled in at Holland’s home and described it as a dark green older model Honda Accord with dark-tinted windows.
Liberty County Sheriff Donnie Conyers credited “outstanding cooperation” among area law enforcement agencies in last week’s arrest. “That’s what it takes to solve something like this,” he said.
“Not one place had a vehicle parked out front,” said Liberty County Major Steve Swier about homes the pair chose to rob. The break-ins occurred between morning and early afternoon at homes along main roadways, which gave the thieves a quick escape route.
They had their parameters and focused on their targets,” Swier said. In most cases, a door was kicked in and the homes were ransacked with drawers pulled out and the contents dumped on the floor. Mattresses were overturned and containers were emptied in the search for cash and valuables.
Descriptions by Holland and a neighbor, along with other specific details noticed by witnesses in Decater County, GA made a big difference in the case, said Bryant, who noted, “There’s thousands of Hondas registered in Gadsden County.”