Archive for August, 2012

Clean-cut trio distracts, robs elderly couple

We’ll call this a “golf collar” crime against the elderly. And it’s just plain mean.

Marietta police are asking for the public’s help to identify three clean-cut burglars that distracted an older couple just long enough to steal their valuables earlier this week.

One homeowner told police he was out working in the yard around 11 a.m. Monday when a white, unmarked minivan pulled into this driveway. Three men, all clean-shaven, wearing khaki pants and polo shirts, and believed to between the ages of 35-40, got out of the van.

The van’s driver told the homeowner his fence was built beyond the property line, and said he arrived at the home to take measurements. The homeowner walked with the man.

Meanwhile, the two other suspects entered the Atwood Drive and began helping themselves to valuables, according to police. The homeowner’s wife came out of a back bedroom and confronted the two men she saw pilfering in her home.

“The two men were startled and said they were looking for a …

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Signed, sealed, not delivered: Atlanta police seek mail thief

Residents of a southwest Atlanta apartment complex need your help finding the man that allegedly swiped mail from the outgoing postal box. And there could be a cash reward if you can deliver the suspect’s identity to police.

Monday morning, employees and residents of the Shamrock Garden Apartments, off Campbellton Road, found mailboxes broken and some of the contents scattered around on the ground. And the surveillance camera captured the early-morning action.

Not only did the unidentified man take the mail from the outgoing box, but he also sat down on a nearby bench and sorted through it, taking what he wanted, according to the surveillance video. At least one resident is missing a money order that was supposed to pay a debt.

Atlanta police are investigating the crime, but the public’s help is needed to identify the would-be mailman, according to Officer John Chafee. In addition to a $2,500 reward being offered by Crime Stoppers Atlanta, the owner of the complex, …

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Slain teen’s funeral held as investigation continues

As family members and friends gathered to say goodbye to a Hall County teenager, investigators plowed through dozens of tips in hopes of finding the person responsible for her violent death.

The funeral for Hannah Truelove was held Wednesday morning.

The funeral for Hannah Truelove was held Wednesday morning.

Hannah Truelove, 16, was found Friday night in a wooded area behind the Gainesville apartment complex where she lived with her mother. The Gainesville High School student had been reported missing the previous night.

Investigators have declined to say how Truelove died, but have called the homicide a violent one. A GBI medical examiner conducted the autopsy on Truelove, John Bankhead, the agency’s spokesman, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Gainesville Police Department initially worked a missing persons case, but for less than 24 hours. Truelove’s body was found outside of the city limits, meaning the Hall County Sheriff’s Office took over as the lead investigating agency. A GBI crime scene specialist assisted in the …

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Duo caught diving in the donation bin

Tina Morales gave an Acworth officer permission to search her vehicle, where 13 bags of donated items were found.

Tina Morales gave an Acworth officer permission to search her vehicle, where 13 bags of donated items were found.

Velvie Bagley told police she had brought items to the donation bin to exchange with other items, according to police.

Velvie Bagley told police she had brought items to the donation bin to exchange with other items, according to police.

The legs dangling from the side of a large donation bin were a dead giveaway.

Plastic bags overflowing clothes, shoes and toys had been dropped off at the bin, near the Kohl’s in Acworth, to be donated to a charity. But recently, two Bartow County women decided to help themselves to the donations. Their plan? Raid the donation bin and add their finds to their future yard sale.

And they would’ve gotten away with it if not for an alert passerby who called 911.

The caller, who wanted to remain anonymous, told police two women were “taking turns climbing into the donation bin,” according to the Acworth police report, obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Their legs were literally hanging out,” the caller said.

When the officer arrived at the …

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Will Twitter help solve Hannah Truelove’s case?

When teenagers are reported missing in metro Atlanta, they are typically found safe before the media can even report it. Most often, teens that decide to run away turn up at friend’s house or with someone mom and dad don’t like. Or even better, the teens return home on their own.

But 16-year-old Hannah Truelove never came home. The Gainesville High School student’s family reported her missing Thursday night, according to police. Less than 24 hours later, her body was found in a wooded area behind her apartment complex.

Investigators have ruled Hannah’s death a homicide, but have not said publicly how she died. But detectives are taking a close look at the teen’s Twitter posts for more clues in the case, Craig Schneider reports. Should social media now be a standard part of police work? Should Tweets be taken seriously?

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Are booters out of control?

I’ll never forget the day I got booted. In a big, white Atlanta Journal-Constitution truck.

I was sent to cover a story outside the Fulton County jail and I decided to take a company vehicle. My colleagues in television thought nothing of jumping the curb in their monstrous trucks and hopping out. The TV trucks were lined up, on the curb, as if to say “Yeah? So?”

But not me. I’m a reporter, not a stunt driver. And I wasn’t sure the trusty AJC truck could handle the off-road heroics of jumping up onto a curb. Instead, I parked across the street from the jail in front of a small building housing a bail bondsman and some other company I can’t remember. Then I walked across the street and interviewed people who had just been released from jail, along with their supporters.

By the time one of my colleagues pointed out the AJC truck was getting booted, it was too late. I got booted. I paid my $75 to have the ugly metal removed, and no, I didn’t ask the company to reimburse me for my …

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Welcome to Crime Time

"Bubble gum bandit" James McAuliffe looked ready to pop someone following his arrest in March 2010 in Coweta County.

"Bubble gum bandit" James McAuliffe, of Newnan, looked ready to pop someone following his arrest in March 2010 in Coweta County. But he was much happier when he graduated from drug court earlier this month. Click his mugshot, or the link below the story, to read his tale.

Been arrested lately? Chances are I’ve heard of you.

But maybe you haven’t heard of me. If you’ve looked through the pages of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution or read stories on ajc.com during the past decade, chances are you’ve seen my work. In 2000, I joined the newspaper as a sports page designer before eventually playing a role in various sections of the paper.

In 2008, I had the opportunity to switch to reporting and I’ve been typing away ever since. And if I already didn’t think I have one of the coolest jobs around, now I’ll get the chance to focus on stories I love.

From news of the weird, to stupid criminals to saluting the work of our local law enforcement, I want to bring you the stories you want …

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