911 calls show Arbery suspect earlier confronted someone over break-ins
Friday, May 22, 2020
GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) -- WTOC reviewed several years worth of 911 calls and incident reports within a two-mile radius of Satilla Shores, the neighborhood where Ahmaud Arbery was killed in February.
The reports showed a history of thefts and car break-ins, but don’t support claims by Gregory and Travis McMichael that a black man was responsible.
In July 2019, Greg McMichael called the administrative 911 line to report a possible suspect in a string of recent crimes; he identified himself as the recently retired chief investigator with the DA’s office.
“We’ve had a lot of break-ins in this area out here, automobile break-ins, and my son and I just discovered a guy. We think he may be living underneath the Fancy Bluff Bridge," McMichael told the operator. “We just went up there and made contact with him, real shady lookin’ fella, and he, uh, possibility he may be the one breaking into all these automobiles at night.”
McMichael gave no specific reason for thinking that man under the bridge had any involvement but still confronted him.
Since May 2019, nine break-ins or thefts have been reported in Satilla Shores; they have also continued since Arbery’s death, with the most recent happening on Mar. 22.
None included a suspect description of a black man, and in fact, three victims named a white man by name as the thief. WTOC discovered that person lived within a quarter mile of the McMichaels in Satilla Shores.He has not been charged, so WTOC is not naming him, but WTOC did search his name in the Georgia Department of Corrections database. The search turned up a lengthy criminal history that included several stints in prison since the mid-90s for theft.
Despite this, there is no proof McMichael ever suspected his white neighbor was responsible. However, he called 911 on Feb. 23 when he saw Arbery running down the road and said he thought Arbery was an armed thief. No incident report from this neighborhood describes a theft suspect that looked like Arbery.
There are several surveillance videos showing a black man in and out of an unfinished home in Satilla Shores. However, it's not clear if it's the same person every time, and there is also no proof that person ever stole anything.