Atlanta cops on manhunt for home invasion suspects

Atlanta police fanned across the neighborhoods surrounding Grant Park on Thursday afternoon in hopes of finding clues that will lead to the apprehension of those responsible for a spate of recent home invasions in the area.

"When we see a pattern developing, our plan is to saturate the area with our officers," said Lt. D. Brent Schierbaum, flanked by about 50 uniformed officers, some on horseback.

On Nov. 23, three intruders accosted a man at his home in Grant Park, shooting at him but missing. An SUV, headlights off, was seen driving away. The next night, a man walking in the 600 block of Home Avenue was robbed by three thieves who forced their way into his residence. Again, a dark SUV was spotted in the area, police said.

Those crimes are believed to be connected to the death of Charles Boyer, who was shot Nov. 22 as he and his girlfriend were getting out of their car in the Virginia Highland area. She escaped without injury.

An unnamed suspect has been arrested on a probation violation, and, according to Atlanta Police Chief George Turner, investigators are trying to determine whether he was involved in the crimes that have residents of these neighborhoods on edge.

Police recovered a 2005 Toyota Highlander witnesses reported seeing during each of those crimes. Boyer's cell phone and ID were found inside the stolen SUV.

However, the suspect has been "less than forthcoming," Maj. Keith Meadows said earlier this week.

Schierbaum, Zone 6's evening watch commander, said officers involved in the operation will be looking for evidence that might help solve the recent crimes, but "our number one goal is to deter crime."

Police will be setting up roadblocks throughout the area, starting at Boulevard and Englewood on Thursday afternoon.

Grant Park resident Beth Mauldin, 43, said she was pleased to see the increased police presence but wonders if it will make much difference.

"I shouldn't have to think twice about walking my dogs at 8 o'clock at night," said the French professor, who lives on Boulevard near the park's entrance. "It seems like a new kind of criminal out there ... much more brazen. How do you combat that?"

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