Area: City Wide

Date: 7/19/2011

Atlanta Police arrested two people early this morning suspected of breaking into cars in a Midtown apartment complex. The two, and a third suspect, are also being questioned in connection with a number of earlier break-ins at a Virginia-Highland apartment complex.

Zone 5 units responded to a suspicious persons call shortly after 4 a.m. at the Savannah Midtown apartments at 215 North Avenue. On arrival, officers noticed a van that a caller said was being loaded with various items. Further investigation determined the two males and one female in the van were in possession of numerous items, including a video game console, GPS unit, phones and stereo equipment. Several vehicles in the parking lot were damaged and had property stolen from them found in the van.

Cedrick L. Dennis, DOB 6-11-93, Ellenwood, and Stephen Costley, 12-26-79, of Forest Park, were arrested and charged with two counts of entering auto and two counts of damage to property. Mr. Costley was also charged with possession of tools to commit crime. Charges have not being filed against the woman, but she is being questioned.

Earlier in the morning, around 2:30 a.m., about 15 cars were broken into at the Steel Apartments and Lofts, 240 Virginia Highland. The suspects in the Midtown break-in are being questioned in those incidents, but have not been charged.

Twenty more vehicles were broken into overnight at 1083 Euclid Avenue in the Little Five Points area. Police received the call about 5 a.m.

Tuesday morning’s break-ins are the latest in a spate of vehicle larcenies throughout the city of Atlanta, including some in gated residence parking lots. The Atlanta Police Department is working diligently and aggressively to stop these break-ins. In the meantime, it’s important to remind vehicle owners of the role they can play in preventing these crimes.

We urge vehicle owners to always follow the APD’s “Clean Car Campaign.” By leaving a “clean car” – that is, not leaving property inside of vehicles, property owners can ensure thieves have nothing to steal. Thieves routinely take laptops, cell phones, tablet computers, GPS units, even purses and money, from inside of motor vehicles. The only sure way to prevent this crime is to take this property with you when you exit your vehicle, whether at home, work or out for pleasure. If you must leave property inside of your vehicle for some reason, secure it in the trunk and out of plain sight.

It should be noted that prior to these recent break-ins, vehicle larcenies were actually slightly down in the city this year (1 percent) and down 19 percent since this time in 2009. Regardless, the Atlanta Police Department recognizes this recent wave of incidents, and can assure citizens we are taking it seriously and moving aggressively to catch the offenders.