ATLANTA - Atlanta police say they are aware of a spate of armed crimes in Buckhead, which has rattled residents in what is considered a low-crime area.
In the last week and a half, eight guns have been stolen from cars, and a man pointed a gun at a bystander after busting a car window at the Peachtree Battle shopping center.
In addition, an unnerving video has been circulating on the popular neighborhood social networking app Nextdoor that shows young men outside a Buckhead home carrying firearms.
Police say they’ve made several arrests in connection with the recent crimes and are working to make more.
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“Certain types of crimes … tend to increase during the holiday season, especially theft from auto. Unfortunately, some of the perpetrators of theft from auto crimes are increasingly armed, which is what has been happening in the Buckhead area,” said police spokesman Carlos Campos. The crooks often have stolen the guns they carry from residents’ cars.
But some residents say the troubles didn’t start lately, and they want police to do more.
“Increased patrols, increased response time, increased visibility,” said Lindsay Ferguson, who lives near Peachtree Battle. “I don’t feel comfortable going to the grocery store, to get gas, to go to the bank.”
Ferguson, who’s lived in the area 11 years, said she’s become more and more concerned about crime in the past year and a half.
Neighbors’ homes have been burglarized. Cars, including hers, have been rifled through.
Recently, a home security system’s camera caught young men carrying guns, including what appeared to be an Uzi-style pistol.
On Dec. 7, Ferguson went to the Publix at Peachtree Battle at about 2 p.m. and narrowly missed the harrowing incident where a thief broke a car window to steal something.
A woman who was there said she approached the man, who had at least one partner, and one pointed a gun at her, telling her to leave.
“I was that close. If he had decided to shoot me, I would be dead,” the woman, who asked not to be identified, told Channel 2 Action News. “It was terrifying. It was 3 in the afternoon, in broad daylight, across the street from an elementary school.”
Police have no suspects but are investigating. They say they are also trying to tamp down crime by devoting extra police resources to the area.
Investigators believe they’ve arrested the armed young men captured in the security video.
The teens were apprehended after a chase on Ga. 400 on Dec. 6 in a Nissan Murano that had been stolen from a home off Hollywood Road.
Several firearms were found inside the car, along with Ecstasy and marijuana.
The suspects are Decatur residents Xzaveiour Johnson and Ibrahim Dodo, as well as a juvenile.
As of Wednesday, they faced charges only related to the theft, but a police spokeswoman said investigators may add more charges.
This article was written by Joshua Sharpe, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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