News 12 at 6 o'clock, November 16, 2007
AUGUSTA, Ga. --- 400 guns are off our streets, and at least 10 of the 71 people arrested are facing charges involving burglaries at gun shops in both Richmond and Columbia counties. Waldens was the store most recently hit, but Shooters and Hitchcock Jewelry and Pawn have also been robbed in the last year. Richmond County investigators say these burglaries are not completely solved, but they have strong leads thanks to Operation Augusta Ink.
Several people are now behind bars after being involved in burglaries at Shooters and Waldens. Let's start with the most recent case in Columbia County, where Waldens was burglarized just a few weeks ago. 39 guns were stolen from the store, and now Richmond County investigators say they've recovered about 20.
"Richmond County informed us that several of our guns had been recovered from the criminals and the guns actually still contained our price tags and our markings on them from our store," Waldens co-owner Eddie Walden said.
Lt. Scott Peebles said three people have been indicted for having firearms that were taken from Waldens. They include: William Johnson, Cyrus Brown, and Terrance Baker.
"Very excited to know that the specific people that burglarized us were caught," Walden said.
Investigators said they have clear evidence these suspects were involved in the Waldens burglary.
"Number one, they brought us guns from the burglaries, and number two, they bragged to us about their involvement in the burglaries," Lt. Scott Peebles said.
And before that back in October there was the Shooters burglary off Washington Road, where eight guns were stolen. Investigators said they've also recovered some of these weapons.
"One of the persons involved in the Walden case was also involved in that case for sure based on his own admission to us about that and the fact that we did also take a stolen gun from him from that same place," Lt. Peebles said.
And in December 2006, another Shooters burglary. Investigators said they have arrested five people in this case three are juveniles and two are charged as adults: Solomon Paschal and Xavier Baker. Investigators said after these cases go to trial, the stores will get their guns back.