Police have charged five people — including a mother and son — in the case of a home invasion and jewelry store burglary in which thieves made off with as much as $10 million.
Two masked gunmen tied up the manager of a popular Buckhead jewelry store and his wife inside their Cobb County home last month while accomplices drove to Atlanta and spent two hours helping themselves to merchandise at Icebox Diamonds & Watches, police said.
Police announced at a news conference Friday that the arrests were made earlier in the day at two Atlanta locations. Four people — Jose Hernandez Pearson, 38, Tameka Lashon Croskey, 44, Gregory Andrews, 34, and Meisha Sims, 31 — were arrested, while a fifth person, 29-year-old Crysell Croskey, was already in custody at the Fulton County jail on unrelated charges. Tameka Croskey and Crysell Croskey are mother and son, police said.
Investigators said the four suspects apprehended Friday were “still at home in bed.”
Authorities from both Cobb and Atlanta laid out some of the evidence collected in the arrests, including diamond rings, necklaces, bracelets and Rolex watches. They also spread out about $27,000 in cash, a fraction of what they said was collected from the suspects’ homes.
Some of the jewelry still had hefty price tags attached, and many of the rings and bracelets had the Icebox logo stamped on the inside.
The Atlanta jewelry store is known for its celebrity clientele.
The five people believed to be involved are facing numerous felonies, including burglary, theft, narcotics and weapons charges, police said. Additional racketeering charges are expected in Cobb, acting District Attorney John Melvin said, promising to bring “the maximum amount of pain” to the suspects involved in what he called a racketeering enterprise.
“We have multiple criminal acts in two different counties spanning multiple victims,” Melvin said. “These people will not see the light of day again.”
Authorities remained tight-lipped about their investigation, however, declining to answer questions about what led to the arrests or whether any of the merchandise had been pawned. They also refused to say whether they believe additional people may have been involved in the scheme.
Investigators said well over 100 pieces of jewelry were stolen from the store and that they were surprised to find the suspects were still in town more than a month after the alleged heist.
The store’s manager and his wife told investigators they were ambushed Feb. 17 after returning home from dinner at nearby South City Kitchen and bound with duct tape and zip ties as the masked men took the keys and codes to the store.
The men threatened to kill them if they didn’t do what they were told, according to police reports.
The couple was separated and one of the men stayed inside the home while a second drove their Toyota Rav4 to the store on Peachtree Road about 11:30 p.m., where another robber was waiting, records show.
Two of the store’s seven safes were cleared out and an undetermined amount of jewelry and watches were stolen, according to police reports.
Two men captured on the store’s surveillance footage appeared to be speaking on FaceTime as they entered codes to open the two safes, according to the report. They didn’t leave the store until about 1:30 a.m.
“There was no damaged property at the store itself, so they obviously knew exactly what they wanted to do and were able to execute it,” Atlanta police spokesman Officer Jarius Daugherty said previously.
Atlanta police Maj. Barry Shaw, commander of the department’s Buckhead precinct, called the arrests “a big deal” for the community.
“It’s pretty well known that Buckhead has had some crime challenges recently,” he said. “We’ve made a number of significant arrests that have begun to turn the tide, but these today are as big as anything we’ve seen in a while.”
Jewelry and cash were also taken from the manager’s Smyrna home during the invasion, police said. He and his wife were not injured.
Stuart VanHoozer, deputy chief of the Cobb County Police Department, said the ordeal must have been “terrifying” for the couple.
“Today is an incredible culmination of a very complicated investigation,” VanHoozer said, “just an outstanding job by everybody in getting these people in jail and stopping what would certainly have been, in my judgment, ongoing violent criminal activity.”
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