Man charged in Sandy Springs burglaries

by: Mike Petchenik Updated:

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SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. - A Cartersville man is in jail facing charges he went on a burglary spree that spanned metro Atlanta.
 
Gabriel Neely, 36, is in the Douglas County Jail after Douglasville police told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik they caught Neely breaking into a home there Tuesday.
 
“This guy is dangerous, he really is,” Sgt. Todd Garner told Petchenik

Garner said when police found Neely, he had made a hole in the side of the home he was attempting to burglarize. Garner said Neely rang the victim’s doorbell, and when he didn’t answer immediately, he went around back and started pulling off siding to dig through the sheetrock.  The homeowner called 911, Garner said, and an officer nearby responded, chased Neely and arrested him.
 
On Oct. 4, Sandy Springs police believe, Neely broke into at least three, possibly four, homes on the northwest side of the city in just one afternoon.
 
“A lot of electronics:  Kindles, phones, laptops, iPads,” said Cory Rodgers, whose parents were some of the victims.
 
Rodgers told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik his family was devastated by the burglary, mainly because of sentimental items taken from the home, including pictures on the electronic devices and family items.
 
“Basically when they come in, they took the pillow case off the bed, rummaged through and took a lot of jewelry,” he said.
 
Surveillance cameras in Rodgers’ parents’ home captured a man casually walking through the house with a pillow case, loading items into it. 
 
After Channel 2 Action News aired the video, Garner said an officer in Douglasville connected the dots and realized the video showed their suspect.  So far, Garner said detectives believe Neely is behind burglaries in Sandy Springs, Douglasville, Dunwoody, Cartersville and Cobb County, and possibly at least one case in Douglas County. 
 
The Georgia Department of Corrections web site shows Neely has been in and out of prison for burglary cases since the mid-'90s.
 
Rodgers told Petchenik he’s thankful police caught the suspect.
 
“It’s a huge sense of relief just not for them, but for all of us.  I feel good for them. They can go to sleep at night and rest a little more peacefully,” said Rodgers of his parents.  “He’s locked up, and I’d like to see him locked up forever.”



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