The Valdosta Daily Times
A long list of charges were filed Saturday in a case involving a residential burglary, a police officer being struck by a car and a high-speed Friday afternoon chase through the city.
And while law-enforcement believes the arrest of two suspects in this incident may curb a recent spike in residential burglaries, a special burglary unit will be installed Monday within the investigative division of the Valdosta Police Department.
Nathaniel Ware, 21, of Valdosta is charged with one count felony burglary, one count felony possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and probation violation, according to Valdosta police reports.
Jarvis L. Bryant, 22, of Valdosta is charged with one count felony burglary, one count misdemeanor possession of marijuana, three felony counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer, one count felony attempting to elude, one misdemeanor count reckless driving, one misdemeanor count leaving the scene of an accident with damaged vehicle, one misdemeanor count leaving the scene of an accident with damage other than vehicle, five misdemeanor counts disregarding a stop sign, two counts misdemeanor improper passing, one misdemeanor count improper turn at an intersection, according to police reports.
On Friday afternoon, a citizen reported suspicious activity at a 900 block Lakeland Avenue residence. Valdosta police responded to the call. There, police tried stopping a man in a vehicle. The man refused to stop. Leaving the scene, his vehicle backed into and struck a Valdosta police officer.
Valdosta police and Lowndes County sheriff’s deputies chased the vehicle. A pursuing deputy performed a precision immobilization technique (PIT) maneuver using his patrol car to stop the fleeing suspect vehicle at the intersection of Inner Perimeter Road and Highway 84. Bryant was arrested at this time.
While investigating the Lakeland Avenue residence, Valdosta police discovered a second suspect hiding in a closet; Ware was arrested at this time.
Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress said Saturday that the VPD officer struck by the car is fine. Given that a fellow officer had been struck by a car, the chief said arresting officers showed remarkable restraint while taking the fleeing suspect into custody.
As for the long list of charges, Childress said, “If you hit one of my police officers, I’m going to throw the book at you.”
The suspects may face additional charges, Childress said. The arrests led to the recovery of several flat-screen television sets, an item targeted for theft in several residential burglaries. In recent weeks, the number of residential burglaries have been on the rise within the Valdosta city limits.
Burglaries rose throughout 2013, in sharp contrast with other major crimes in the city. Citing Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics, Childress said numbers dropped for all major crimes last year in Valdosta, with the exception of burglaries. The number of burglaries increased in the past year.
To combat this rise, Childress recently approached Valdosta City Manager Larry Hanson about creating a sergeant-led burglary unit within the VPD’s detective bureau. Valdosta Police Detective Chris Crews has been promoted to sergeant and will lead the new burglary unit.
Childress said the new unit will be assigned specifically to solving and reducing burglary cases within the city. Money saved from the VPD’s recent move to 12-hour shifts covers the sergeant position while remaining within the police department’s budget.
The VPD also hopes to reduce the number of burglaries through prevention. Childress applauded the citizen who reacted to seeing something suspicious Friday in the Lakeland Avenue community. Neighbors watching out for one another and calling 911 can reduce burglaries, he said.
Neighborhood watches can protect communities from burglaries. The VPD is promoting the creation, restoration and strengthening of neighborhood watch groups. Communities interested in establishing a neighborhood watch may call Valdosta Police Officer Vernotis Williams, (229) 293-3090, for more information.
Childress also recommends keeping records of serial numbers on all television sets and electronic equipment. Serial numbers should be recorded as soon as an item is purchased. If it is stolen, the VPD enters these serial numbers into the Georgia Crime Information Computer, which is then entered into the National Crime Information Computer. Serial numbers can increase the possibility of a stolen item being recovered and can help apprehend burglary suspects.
If a person can afford one, a residential alarm system can deter burglaries.
And neighborhood watch or not, Childress stressed, if people see something suspicious in their neighborhoods, call 911. Callers can remain anonymous while helping their neighbors.