Cops: Rapper Russ’ Roswell home burglarized; guns, Mercedes, purses stolen

Roswell police said Atlanta rapper Russ' home was burglarized Friday.

Credit: Melissa Ruggieri/AJC

Credit: Melissa Ruggieri/AJC

Roswell police said Atlanta rapper Russ' home was burglarized Friday.

A metro Atlanta rapper’s home was recently burglarized and ransacked, Roswell police confirmed Monday.

Russ, whose full name is Russell Vitale, called police shortly before 1 a.m. Friday to report seeing people breaking into his house via his security cameras.

When officers arrived, they found the front door was open, according to an incident report obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. No one was found inside, “but the home had clearly been ransacked,” the report states.

Almost every drawer was open, jewelry boxes were open and empty, and most of the couch cushions had been removed and thrown on the floor, according to the report. Two of the three vehicles parked in the garage appeared to have been rummaged through, with personal belongings strewn across the passenger seats, and the door to one of them was left open, police noted in the report.

At some point, Vitale Facetimed a friend, who went to the house to walk through with police and note what had been taken. According to the report, five firearms — two Glock 19s, a CZ Scorpion and two Walther handguns — that had been stored in various locations had been removed, as well as two Chanel purses that belonged to his girlfriend Jonica Keating valued at $15,000 and $9,000. Her vehicle, a 2020 Mercedes-Benz C Class AMG, also was stolen, the report details.

Traffic cameras last recorded the car entering I-285 West from Riverside Road around 12:30 a.m., investigators noted.

Police said it appears four suspects broke in through the basement patio door around 10:15 p.m., according to the report. Two of them left through the same door, carrying suitcases. Two others, one of whom was carrying a backpack, left through the front door at around midnight. Almost an hour went by before Vitale, 31, noticed the breach.

“All of the individuals were wearing gloves and jackets,” the report states. “There were very little identifying features about them.”

As of Monday, no suspect information had been established, police spokesperson Officer Tim Lupo told the AJC.

“Our detectives are still working with the homeowner to determine what property was taken,” he said.

The 31-year-old New Jersey native rose to fame in 2016 with his hit single, “What They Want.” It was Vitale’s first track to land on Billboard’s Hot 100, peaking at No. 83. The following year, he released his debut studio album, “There’s Really a Wolf,” which reached the No. 7 spot on the Billboard 200 album chart.

The burglary is the latest incident of crime against celebrities in metro Atlanta over the past years.

Actor and songwriter Tyrese Gibson and “Real Housewives of Atlanta” stars Kim Zolciak and Marlo Hampton have all been victims of theft. Gibson’s luxury SUV was taken from the driveway of his Buckhead mansion in 2020, and in Zolciak’s case, someone lifted a Chanel purse and wallet along with three credit cards from her daughter’s Mercedes G63 while it was parked at their north Fulton home in 2018. Last year, Hampton watched on her security system as armed, masked men kicked in her door. They ran away, she told Channel 2 Action News, presumably after they heard yelling inside the home.

Rapper Ludacris and Queen Latifah have both had their vehicles stolen. In 2021, Ludacris’ Mercedes-Benz was taken when he left the key inside during a trip to an ATM, and in 2016, Queen Latifah’s Mercedes S63 was taken while she was filling up at a gas station on the south side of Fulton. Both vehicles were recovered.

Last year, Fulton prosecutors filed a 220-count indictment accusing 26 defendants of being part of the Drug Rich gang, which emerged in the Stone Mountain, Lithonia and Tucker areas of DeKalb County in 2016. Prosecutors said the gang was behind several home invasions and burglaries of celebrity and non-celebrity homes across the metro dating to at least 2017.

Hampton and singer Mariah Carey were two of the victims in that case. Police have not said if anything was taken from Carey’s house. Other victims included Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United players.

It is not clear if the burglars who targeted Vitale’s home might have been connected to the Drug Rich gang.