4 arrested after ‘reign of plunder’ of Macon-Bibb businesses
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Four people are now in custody after what the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office calls a months long investigation into a burglary ring.
A sheriff’s office news release says “Operation Playing it Safe” looked into several recent business burglaries, several of which involved the exterior walls of businesses being breached with either a sledge hammer or a saw. Crowbars or other prying tools were used to enter other businesses.
The sheriff’s office says safes in many of the businesses were either cut open or removed altogether.
“Physical evidence was gathered and concerned citizens gave valuable information about possible suspects and locations where the stolen goods were stored,” the release said.
Several search warrants were served on Tuesday, April 28 at various locations around Bibb County, which included 3379 Warpath Road, 3979 Bernice Avenue, 121 Countryside Drive, 1153 Auburn Avenue, 6009 Harrison Road (Motel 6) Room 220 and 1731 Keystone Street (Ark Self Storage).
Investigators recovered concrete saws and saw blades, sledge hammers, crow bars and bolt cutters during their searches and also found several items believed to be taken from businesses including cash, clothing, cigarettes, TVs and other electronic devices. Six guns and three vehicles were also seized.
Four people were arrested.
- 51-year-old Frankie Lee Barnes is charged with two counts of burglary and violation of the Georgia Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
- 31-year-old Cornelius Antonio Redding is charged with one count of burglary, violation of the Georgia RICO Act and probation violation.
- 32-year-old Antuane McQuell Simmons is charged with two counts of burglary and violation of the Georgia RICO Act.
- 31-year-old Margo Shada Watts is charged with one count of theft by taking, one count of theft by receiving and violation of the Georgia RICO Act.
“As the investigation continues more burglary and/or theft charges will likely be added to each one,” the release said. “Investigators will be following up with businesses victimized in these cases to determine if any of the goods recovered can be identified by their rightful owners.”
Several entities were involved in the operation, including Bibb County Sheriff’s Office Property Investigations Unit, Bibb County Sheriff’s Office S.W.A.T. , Bibb County Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team (SRT) , Bibb County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit , Bibb County Sheriff’s Office Crime Analysis Unit , Peach County Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team, and Bibb Sheriff’s Office Criminal Gun Apprehension Team (composed of members of the BCSO and ATF). Bibb Investigator Sgt. Robbie Joiner and Investigator Jean Lebeuf along with Crime Analyst Thomas Crites were the coordinators of Operation Playing It Safe.
“This investigation marks a significant achievement for law enforcement in Bibb County,” said Sheriff David Davis. “We feel confident that the recent reign of plunder will be diminished by the arrests of these individuals. The actions of these diligent deputies will help to make Macon-Bibb a safer place to do business.”