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Gang Graffiti Investigation Leads to Arrests

Three individuals were charged with violation of the Georgia Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act. The investigation also led to other arrests.

The Paulding County Sheriff’s Office arrested three individuals Friday and charged them with Violation of the Georgia Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act in an ongoing “gang graffiti” investigation that covered the North Paulding area. This investigation led to the arrests of three more adults and two other juveniles involved in entering autos and financial transaction card fraud.

According to PCSO Sgt. Brandon Gurley, “gang graffiti” was reported to the sheriff’s office in early July 2011. Although there were originally no suspects or leads, detectives were able to generate leads by conducting field interviews and patrols. Their investigation led to the identity of the persons responsible for the graffiti.

Austin Davis, 17, of Dallas was charged with six counts of criminal trespass and one count of violation of the Georgia Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act. He was released on a $7,900 bond. Two 16- year-old boys also were charged with six counts of criminal trespass and one count of violation of the Georgia Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act.

In early August, the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office received surveillance pictures from the Acworth Police Department of suspects involved in a financial transaction card case that originated at the Walmart in their jurisdiction. Detectives were able to identify one of the suspects as a juvenile they had interviewed in the above case the same day the picture was taken. The suspect was also wearing the same clothes when he was interviewed as he was in the photo. Paulding County Sheriff’s Office school resource officers and juvenile detectives were able to identify the other suspects in the photos provided by Acworth Police.

After a lengthy investigation, the following were charged in Paulding County’s entering auto and financial transaction card fraud case:

  • Joseph Loftis, 21, of Dallas was charged with one count of entering auto, four counts of financial transaction card fraud, four counts of financial transaction card forgery, three counts of financial transaction card theft, one count of theft by taking, and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He is being held on a $37,800 bond.
  • Wesley Chaney, 17, of Dallas was charged with one count of entering auto and three counts of financial transaction card theft. He is being held on a $11,200 bond.
  • Marcquise Kelly, 17, of Acworth was charged with one count of entering auto and three counts of financial transaction card theft. He was released on an $11,200 bond.
  • Three 16-year-old males were charged with one count of entering auto and three counts of financial transaction card theft.

One of the three juveniles charged with entering auto was also involved in the graffiti case and was one of the two charged in violation of the Georgia Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act.

The graffiti investigation led to the discovery of the suspects involved in the entering autos and financial transaction card fraud case that spanned Paulding County and Acworth. These arrests and discoveries would not have been possible without the cooperation between agencies and divisions.

Due to the efforts and dedication of the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office Juvenile Investigations Division, detectives were able to uncover a plan to commit 30 to 40 additional entering autos in early August in the Cedarcrest Road area of Paulding County. An alert was sent out to citizens on Aug. 5 (http://local.nixle.com/alert/4716652/) and patrol deputies were told of this plan.

Deputies increased their presence in that area and citizens took a proactive approach to protect their belongings. These actions put a strain on the suspects and forced them out of their comfort zone. They were only successful in entering one vehicle in the Ivy Gulledge Road area. The actions of deputies and residents caused these suspects to take greater risks, which led to their identification.

“This case proves how important it is to share information with our citizens,” Paulding County Sheriff Gary Gulledge said.

Gulledge and the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office encourage county residents to sign up for email and text alerts at nixle.com. More information on this free service .

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