Atlanta police Thursday night announced the arrests of five young men they believe are responsible for a number of armed, violent robberies that have had Midtown on edge for several months.
Police collared the five Wednesday night, trapping them in a stolen car at a BP gas station on Spring Street. They’re charged in two robberies earlier this week, and likely will be looking at additional charges in other cases, Atlanta Police Sgt. Robert Albertini said.
“I’m confident that our (investigators) will be able to clear some robberies, multiple robberies,” Albertini said. “They’re bad guys. They’re violent, bad guys.”
Police did not identify the five, except to say none lives in Midtown. All are metro Atlanta residents, Albertini said.
Cops caught them after receiving a robbery call Wednesday night. A victim told police armed men stole his iPhone. And this: They were in a white Dodge Charger.
The night before, said Albertini, a couple walking along 8th Street were robbed, the man pistol-whipped, by two gunmen. The duo ran to a waiting car — a white Dodge Charger. Several home-security cameras posted on 8th Street front porches captured the assault and the car as it sped away. With the video, said Albertini, police had a solid clue.
“We were able to see them commit the crime and see them leave in the white vehicle,” he said.
Wednesday night, an officer spotted a white Charger at the Spring Street BP.
“We had the cavalry come,” Albertini said.
Cruisers boxed in the car, which rammed one police car when its occupants tried to flee.
The car, police discovered, was stolen. It had a stolen tag. Inside it were two weapons.
“Midtown residents can breathe a little easier tonight knowing that these guys are behind bars,” Albertini said.
Mayor Kasim Reed may share their sentiments. Recent events in Midtown have put heat on him to reduce crime.
On Oct. 3, three armed assailants committed two Midtown hold-ups just moments apart.
They first tried carjacking a 38-year-old woman and her child in front of her home on Charles Allen Drive. One assailant, said the victim, was succinct.
“He … put the gun on my head and said. ‘Give me your keys,’” the mother told Channel 2 Action News. “And my 7-year-old daughter was in the car.”
The trio fled when the woman’s husband came out the front door of their home.
Fifteen minutes later, they tried again. This time, they succeeded, carjacking a 71-year-old woman’s car in a parking garage off Juniper Street.
The robbers didn’t get away without leaving figurative footprints. The woman in the failed carjacking described two of the assailants. A sketch artist produced images of two young men. A video camera in the parking garage recorded the second carjacking.
Four days after those crimes, Reed met with rattled Midtown residents.
“I absolutely understand the urgency of what is going on,” he said.
The city, he said, had won a grant and planned to add more cops. Reed also took a moment to defend Atlanta police.
“I don’t mind you all holding me accountable,” Reed said, “but when our police officers arrest someone 30 times and they go before a judge and they walk for $200, they come back and rob you again.”
Another attempted Midtown robbery happened on Nov. 28., Channel 2 Action News reported. Marcel Juggopoly and a friend were walking past some apartments on 12th Street when a gunman stopped them. The robber pushed his friend against a glass pane, Juggopoly told police. He jumped the gunman, who fired three shots. One bullet shattered a glass door at the apartments.
A shower of shards injured a toddler who was with her family, police said. Paramedics treated her while cops looked for the gunman. They didn’t find him.
Thursday night, police said they would be looking closely at those crimes, and others.
—Photographer Ben Gray contributed to this article.