Richmond County stakeouts

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News 12 at 11, January 4, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga. --- Officers have been conducting a series of stakeouts around town. The idea is to put a stop to an increase in armed robberies. These stakeouts are all about officers secretly watching businesses and other locations to try and catch people in the act of committing crimes. And most recently their focus is armed robberies.

It's a lot of sitting and waiting. When investigators conduct stakeouts, they pick anywhere from 10 to 30 businesses they'll stakeout for as long as two to three weeks.

"Maybe out of that period of time you may catch one person who commits an armed robbery or you may not catch anyone. So it's a lot of long hours of sitting and waiting and doing nothing but watching," Lt. Scott Peebles said.

On Thursday night, the Richmond County Sheriff's Office and the FBI Safe Streets Task Force conducted a stakeout at Fred's Discount Store off of Washington Road. Investigators said it can be pretty boring. But not this time. When the robbery suspect came out of Fred's, investigators said he ran right into their arms.

"There were officers at every direction so there was really no where for him to go," Lt. Peebles said.

Lt. Peebles said these stakeouts are effective.

"Word gets out pretty quick that were doing stakeouts and people are a little less willing to go out and commit the robberies when they think were out there," Lt. Peebles said.

And while we were riding along with investigators, another armed robbery. This time at the Family Dollar on Milledgeville Road. Investigators said there is a lot of risk involved because most of the people they deal with are armed with hand guns.

"They're kind of pumped up, the officers get pumped up. So the possibility for an armed confrontation is pretty high," Lt. Peebles said.

Lt. Peebles said the stakeouts are very labor intensive. They look for patterns like the times, days, and areas where robberies happen the most.

"Usually, when we conduct stakeouts, we end up catching somebody," Lt. Peebles said.

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