Holidays and thefts from cars just go together

It happens every year about this time, but we do get spikes in the crime stats, mostly from an increase in thefts from cars. Here’s a short quiz for you:

What is the common denominator that ties all these thefts from cars together? (Like this is hard. It’s a reminder; just go with it.)

  1. All of the cars are from fabulous Sandy Springs.
  2. They all have those little “family member” decals on the back. You know, the ones with the dad, mom, kids and dog that they put on the back window. Detective Sandy and I have one. It shows us, the kids and our Glocks. Very cute.
  3. (Yeah, this is the one.) There was something in there to steal.

Between now and Dec.  24, when I actually shop, it gets closer and closer to crunch-time. There are more cars packed in the shopping center lots for longer periods of time. Remember: It’s like the two guys being chased by the bear. You don’t need to outrun the bear — just the other guy.

Crooks do follow the Risk vs. Opportunity formula and it is s-o-o-o-o-o easy. But you have to actually act on it and not let that little “It won’t happen to me” voice make your decision.

Is your car on this list where recent thefts from vehicles were reported?

  • 5100 block of Roswell Road
  • 5900 block of Roswell Road
  • 500 block of Caliber Springs Drive
  • 400 block of Spring Creek Lane
  • 2200 block of Jefferson Drive
  • 3500 block of Spring Creek Lane
  • 3000 block of Glenridge Stratford
  • 1300 block of Spring Creek Lane
  • 5500 block of Glenridge Drive (two incidents)
  • 1100 block of Jefferson Drive
  • Spalding Trail (two incidents)
  • 5400 block of Roswell Road
  • 1150 block of Hammond Drive
  • 5800 block of Roswell Road
  • 5400 block of Roswell Road
  • 900 block of Hammond Drive
  • 5 Concourse Drive 30328
  • 2 Concourse Drive 30328
  • 4600 block of Roswell Road
  • Old Stratton Chase
  • 1000 block of Johnson Ferry Road (two incidents)
  • 1100 block of Mt. Vernon Hwy (two incidents)
  • 6500 block of Roswell Road
  • 3300 block of Treelodge Pkwy.
  • 4900 block of Roswell Road

Burglaries and attempts

6900 block of Roswell Road: At about 10:30 a.m., a man who was sleeping heard a loud bang. His dog also started barking loudly. He ran downstairs and found that someone had kicked open his front door but had apparently aborted the burglary after hearing the dog.

5100 block of Roswell Road: Officers, responding to an alarm, found a back door to an office open. Nothing was reported missing. This happened about 4:30 a.m.

7500 block of Roswell Road: Officers answered an alarm call and found that someone apparently pried a door and deadbolt. Although they damaged the door, there was nothing reported missing.

1100 block of Hammond Drive: Someone threw a brick through the glass front of a building and took several cans of charity donation money. The report indicated the alarm was not on that night.

5000 block of Northside Drive: Someone forced a door open to a house that was currently being moved into but not yet occupied. Nothing was reported missing. The burglar apparently tripped the alarm and fled.

TIP: Alarms work if you use them.

The I-ran-out-of-gas-and-need-money-for-more con man

An officer spotted a man standing next to his Toyota Camry, waving down passing cars. This was at Lenox and GA 400. The officer turned around at Lenox to head back to the city limits. Later, he saw the same man and car at Glenridge Connector and GA 400 doing the same thing, waving down cars.  The officer stopped and talked with the man.

The officer knew the man and this scam he pulls because he arrested the man last year for doing the same thing: Waving down passing cars and lying to them about needing gas money for whatever critical situation he’s in. The officer started the car and the gas gauge read slightly above empty. The car ran 20 minutes before the officer shut it off. The subject said a woman drove the car and had gone to find gas. The subject, who has a long criminal history and no driver’s license, was arrested for loitering and prowling.

This is a good example of low-level cons that people do pull out there. You’d be surprised how much money they can pull in, in a day’s time. Don’t fall for them.

Community policing

One of the big pushes that we’re involved in now is community-oriented problem policing. Here’s a good example:

We have community officers, as I’ve mentioned before. One is our go-to guy in the communities south of I-285 around the Northwood Drive and areas south.

He has been working with the communities in several areas, including calling in suspicious activity to our 911 center.

Following one of his community meetings, a resident did call the police on suspicious persons occupying an apartment the caller knew was vacant. This action resulted in five arrests of known gang members, four of the five being juveniles. Cops recovered a stolen gun taken from a car in Sandy Springs. One of the suspects is suspected of committing armed robberies in the area as well. Thirteen charges were levied against the five suspects.

On duty — overseas — for the holidays

Sandy Springs Police Officer Mark Johnson is currently serving in Iraq. Mark was deployed this past March and is serving for 15 months. Mark came to SSPD from Fulton County Police. He is married to Michelle Johnson and they have one son, Dean, age 5.

I know that a lot of you have friends and/or relatives serving overseas and it’s tough this time of year. But we sure as heck want them to know we’re thinking about them.

Know your cop lingo: A brief glossary

  • DV: Domestic Violence
  • DOC: Disorderly Conduct
  • FTA: Failure to Appear (in court)
  • UC: Undercover officer or informant
  • MISD: Misdemeanor
  • GCIC: Georgia Crime Information Computer
  • CH: Criminal History
  • DH: Driver’s History

16 comments Add your comment


December 14th, 2009
9:33 pm

Its unfortunate, but the I-need-gas con man is the main reason I dont help anyone anymore. I assume ALL are trying to get over. I know thats a bad way to think but hey, better safe than sorry!!!

carla marie

December 15th, 2009
3:02 am

could someone tell UPS that its not the best idea to just leave a package on an outside doorstep and at the hands of whoever wants to take it? i see this everyday, and it blows my mind that their policy is ok with that.

Kilgore Trout Fan

December 15th, 2009
4:20 am

Officer Steve,

I just want to wish you and yours and the Glocks a great Xmas. I have learned so much useful info since starting to read this column that its like a Xmas present every week. So please have a good one.


December 15th, 2009
6:16 am

Can you repeat the question? I’m not 100% sure what you’re asking here.

Chris Broe

December 15th, 2009
11:57 am

Thanx for the very useful glossary of Cop Lingo.

The homeowner’s lingo used to address any burglary in progress is “Say hello to my leetle friend!”


December 15th, 2009
1:36 pm

carla marie: most of the fault with UPS leaving packages does not lie with UPS; rather, it’s the recipient’s fault for allowing it to happen, instead of providing delivery instructions that should be placed on the label, such as “leave with neighbor at (address)” or “deliver to front office if no answer” (if in apartment complex), or allowing their home address be the default delivery address. Whenever I order something online, I always make sure that my work address is the delivery address, especially since (A) the package is usually delivered during the work week, and (B) I don’t know from one day to the next if someone will be home to sign for it. I live with my parents, and while neither of them work, and they usually have all dental and medical appointments written down on the calendar where I can see them, I don’t know if today they might decide to run to the grocery store during the middle of the day, or to Home Depot for some supplies. That, and our front door is highly visible from the street, so it would be easy to spot a package lying in front.

Been Had

December 15th, 2009
2:38 pm

Hey LT, I’ve been had by the No Gas Man…. The first time I saw him it was early in the morning and I was making my coffee run at the gas station and I heard the story…”Hey man, I just ran out of gas down the road and I just need a few bucks to get it home….” So being the upstanding citizen I am I forked over 5 bucks and thought nothing more of it, until the next morning. So as you guessed it, on my routine coffee run the next morning I was approached by the same guy, with the same line. He did not remember me from the morning before and to top it off, he had the nerve to get mad at me for not forkin over another 5 bucks. Any ways, keep on keepin on LT and have a great safe x-mas.


December 15th, 2009
4:42 pm

I don’t remember being had by the “No-Gas-Guy”, but I have been had by the “Just-Got-Out-Of-Jail” crowd. I’d be approached in the parking lot of the Cracker Barrel on Dawson Blvd. in Norcross, and it’s always the same story: “Hey, sir, could you spare a few bucks? I just got out of prison and I need a place to stay and a bite to eat.” The first couple of times I’d fork over maybe 5 bucks, but after being approached nightly by a different person, I got fed up with it. I quit going to that location after a while, and thought I’d be safe in the morning. Nope. Was approached again, and someone else had been as well. They had the restaurant call the police, who filed a report against one of the persons doing this. They quit after that.

Name (required)

December 16th, 2009
9:59 am

Are the white van “hey, we tried to deliver this hi-fi stereo to a customer, but they refused it and the warehouse won’t take it back” guys still in full swing? I feel sorry for anyone who buys that crap….but then again, I don’t.

thought he knew better

December 16th, 2009
11:32 am

the white van thing is a life lesson my son learned the hard way.i wish they would have tried that one on me.

Sandy Springs Guy

December 16th, 2009
2:40 pm

Supplement to the white van opportunity: IF you buy somethig from them, open the box and make sure they do not have cinder blocks inside. Weight does not equate to product!


December 17th, 2009
10:26 am

Is it against the law to leave your car running in your driveway to warm it up on cold winter days?


December 22nd, 2009
10:29 am

Way to go Steve – identify a house without a man present. I’m sure Michelle Johnson will appreciate it if a thief sees her name on here and pays her a visit.


January 7th, 2010
9:12 am

Tip #1: Don’t leave your laptop/purse/or any other valuable possesion sitting on the front seat for all to see. You’re just asking to be ripped off.That’s what the trunk is for.

Ole Guy

January 17th, 2010
7:17 pm

On the rare occasions when I have to leave valuables in the car, I cover them up with all sorts of disgusting stuff from my gym bag…socks, jocks, shorts, and holey (as in full of holes) singlets. After all, who wants to rummage through that stuff?

Ole Guy

January 17th, 2010
7:39 pm

Another gripe toward the “down-and-out” crowd: Returning from a trip, I take MARTA from the airport to within a few miles of home plate. Invariably, there’s almost always someone, with some heart-wrenching story of woe, lurking about the train, begging for alms. Somehow, I guess they feel that anyone who goes from here to there on a plane must have spare cabbage, for I never see them on the bus-portion of the trip.

Usually, I have a rental at my destination, however, on the occasions when I don’t, the local public trans usually works fine. Of all the cities visited, big and small, domestic and overseas, I don’t believe any of them beat the ATL public trans in terms of aggressive beggars.

MARTA PD, you there?