Firearms recovered from the burglary at "American Idol" winner Phillip Phillips father's pawn shop.
ALBANY, Ga. — The display of more than 10 used, old and scratched .22-caliber rifles, shotguns and a .380 handgun by the Albany Police Department Friday wasn’t the point.
The point to displaying guns at the pawnshop was to keep firearms off the street and out of the hands of criminals.
“We work every case to the fullest extent. We seek the truth and our job is to bring the truth to justice,” said police Lt. Terrance Bryant. “Anytime large amounts of weapons are on the street, it is of grave concern to us.”
It was the “grave concern” to take the weapons off the street that led officers into quick action on the burglary case that involved the business of a local celebrity’s family, officers said.
Officers arrested five Thursday in connection with smashing a backhoe through the back of Albany Sporting Goods and Pawn sometime between 8 p.m. Monday and 8 a.m. Tuesday. The pawnshop is owned by Donnie Phillips, father of “American Idol” winner Phillip Phillips.
Those arrested, according to police reports, were:
• Quymeisha Wallace, 18, the only woman in the group. She is charged with one count of burglary;
• Maurice Sanders, 23, charged with burglary, theft by receiving, theft by taking, criminal damage to property and obstruction of an officer;
• George Ferguson Jr., 38, charged with obstruction of an officer;
• William Bush Jr., 53, charged with theft by receiving and theft by deception. He was picked up at 521 W. Whitney Ave.
Police arrested the others while serving search warrants on an Apartment C at 1703 E. Oglethorpe Blvd. on Thursday. Police also searched Apartment B at 1316 Residence Ave. Wallace was involved in another burglary that could be cleared with her arrest, Bryant added.
According to a Dougherty County Jail spokeswoman, at a first hearing before a judge on Friday, Wallace and Sanders were denied bail. Bail for Bush was set at $2,000 and for Ferguson at $1,000. No word was immediately available on whether they made bail.
The owner of the four apartments on Mulberry Avenue, Michael Martin, was taken in for questioning Thursday. He was released the same day.
So far no one has been charged with stealing the Water, Gas & Light Commission backhoe that was used to bash in the pawnshop’s back wall. It had been parked 1.5 miles away when it was taken.
The case isn’t done. Although the police also displayed jewelry and electronic games, they remain on the hunt for more weapons and other stolen goods.
“Thanks to the citizens of Albany we were allowed to make these arrests. Information from a citizen had detailed information. We called a defendant on the phone and they confirmed they committed the crime,” Bryant said. “If anyone has any of the weapons they should contact us to recover them and be willing to turn them in.”
Anyone with additional information should call investigations at (229) 431-3288 or Crime Stoppers at (229) 436-TIPS (8477). The Spanish language APD-COP Tip Line is (229) 434-2677.