Metro gangs targeting upscale neighborhoods in outlying counties, deputies say

WALTON COUNTY, Ga. — It seems gang members from the city are making their way to suburbs to find new victims.

The sheriff of Walton County says gang members from DeKalb County are using popular real estate websites like Zillow to pick their latest targets.

Authorities gave Channel 2's Justin Wilfon surveillance video they say shows the gang members trying to break into cars in a Monroe neighborhood.

“It’s very concerning,” said neighbor Ted Blackhurst. “I’d like to see them not come out here to tell you the truth.”

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office said the gang members are coming from DeKalb County and since they began their crime spree months ago, they’ve broken into more than 100 cars in multiple neighborhoods.

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“These folks are extremely dangerous. They are always armed. Handguns, even some rifles," Maj. Scott Whisenant, with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office, said. “Every time they go through a neighborhood, they’re going to touch every car door and check it."

The Sheriff’s Office said the thieves steal whatever they can find in unlocked cars and sometimes they even steal the car.

Authorities say they’re selecting their victims online by using real estate websites to find upscale neighborhoods.

“They’ll specifically target those neighborhoods hoping they can get more valuable items out of the vehicles,” Whisenant said.

Police arrested several of the alleged gang members but believe more are still out there.

That’s why neighbors like Blackhurst told Wilfon they’re keeping their doors locked.

“People are going to have to start looking after each other in neighborhood,” Blackhurst said.

The Sheriff’s Office is emphasizing that anyone who sees possible gang members breaking into cars should not confront them and should call 911.