News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012
WAYNESBORO, Ga. -- One man, several teenagers and even a 12-year-old in are in jail after the Waynesboro Police Department busted what they call an organized crime ring.
The crimes range from home invasions and vandalism to car break-ins.
Most of the crime spree has targeted the Westgate neighborhood in Waynesboro.
Lt. Joe Nelson says the people in this community have been living like hostages in their own homes.
And now, they think the break-ins may be gang related.
"We understand from our investigation that these kids are calling themselves the 'Orchard Gang,'" Nelson said.
Investigators say 19-year-old Devante Sharpe is the ringleader of the group. Sharpe is in custody, along with five juveniles aged 12 to 16.
"There were older, retired-aged people, that were afraid to come out of their houses. These kids wreaked havoc over in that community," Nelson said.
Investigators say Sharpe and another adult "ringleader" took orders from people in the community and then sent the kids to steal items to fulfill those orders.
"These young people will go in the houses and get specific items -- small-caliber handguns, jewelry, electronic components or what have you," Nelson said.
Alluene Bryant lives in the Westgate community, and someone recently broke into her house.
She came home to find her bedroom in chaos and a cement brick through her window.
"My room just, poof! Like a jungle, everything was all everywhere," she said.
The thieves stole several pieces of family heirloom jewelry.
And down the road, a similar story. Gladys Williams' home was also broken into.
She and her son came home to find the bedroom door locked. The thieves were apparently still inside and made a speedy exit.
Investigators are still searching for the second suspect. They're hoping to connect the suspects from this crime ring to other burglaries in the county.
Investigators say if you think you have some of those stolen items, it would be a good idea to turn them in. Otherwise you may be charged with receiving stolen property.
WAYNESBORO, Ga. -- The Waynesboro Police Department has broken up a burglary ring that took "shopping orders" for merchandise.
Devontae Sharpe, 19, is in custody and is charged with being one of two adults who ran the ring of five juveniles.
Investigators say that Sharpe and the other adult would tell the juveniles what they wanted and the teens would burglarize houses looking for the items. While looking for the requested items, the teens would allegedly take any type of electronics they could find. If there wasn't an order for that item, they would sell or pawn it.
Some of the stolen items have been recovered and returned to owners. The search is still on for what was sold off at local pawn shops as far away as Louisville and Augusta.
The second adult is still on the loose. Authorities are not releasing his name at this time.
One of the juveniles is being held at the Youth Development Campus. The four others will be going to Juvenile Court, but there is not a set date at this time.
News 12 will keep you updated on this case.