Church music equipment thefts in Gwinnett strike bad note

Gwinnett police have arrested a man in connection with a series of thefts of musical equipment from local churches.

Albert Dobbs Sams was charged with two counts of burglary and three counts of theft by deception and is custody after turning himself in to Gwinnett County Jail on April 3, police said.

According to police, Sams, 24, pawned four electronic keyboards worth more than $6,000 that were stolen from Hebron Baptist Church in Dacula at two different pawn shops in Norcross on March 10 and 11, receiving $1,500 for all of them.

Detectives tracked the pawned items to the two shops, which agreed to pursue criminal charges against Sams.

The keyboards were returned to the church.

On March 16, an amplifier was stolen from Duluth Presbyterian Church in Duluth. The item was found at another pawn shop in Lawrenceville. Police said Sams received $100 for the item.

Sams has pawned other musical equipment in recent months, police said, but the victims, which detectives believe may be other churches, are not known to authorities. Other related cases may be in Roswell, Norcross and Johns Creek.

Police ask that if a church’s leaders feel that they may be a victim, they should contact Detective Poppe at 770-513-5343 or 770-513-5300.