Gang of thieves suspected in car chases

by: Tony Thomas Updated:

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. - Fayetteville police believe the same gang of teenagers is responsible for two high-speed chases this month, both have ended in wrecks.

Investigators said on March 14 and again last Monday, separate groups of teenagers stole vehicles from the Fayetteville Pavilion Shopping Center.

On Monday, police spotted the van and a getaway car the thieves were using, but called off the chase when speeds hit near 80 miles an hour.

A few moments later, Fayette County sheriff's deputies spotted the vehicles after they crashed into each other trying to get away.

Recordings from a deputy's car show four teens trying to jump into a Honda Civic and get away but it crashed into the deputy's vehicle.

The teens ran away into nearby woods. Authorities captured three of the four.

Just two weeks earlier, a different trio of teenage thieves carjacked a woman in the same center and took authorities on a multi-county rush-hour chase that ended on Atlanta's west side.

A state patrol trooper bumped the car as it was trying to get on Interstate 20 and spun it out.

Investigators tell Channel 2's Tony Thomas they believe all the suspects are from the same gang.

Fayette County residents are now on guard and trying to be careful.

"The town is nowhere near where it used to be," said lifelong resident Jennifer Graham. "I won't come up here at night time by myself. You've got to be on your guard."

But not every resident is willing to change their habits just because some carjackers are striking.

"You cannot stay hidden all your life, you've got to get out," said 82-year-old Jewell Gable as she walked into the same store where the latest incident occurred.

Fayetteville police continue to look for the final suspect that got away.

They have also stepped up patrols in the shopping center area.