Lt. Alonzo Ingram with the gang unit of the Albany Police Department inspects a semi-automatic handgun, part of 24 firearms recently recovered from a gang-related burglary operation. (Staff Photo: Jim West)
ALBANY — A recent kidnapping by suspected Albany gang members has led to the cracking of the Albany Police Department’s largest burglary case, the apprehension of eight suspects and the recovery of a large number of firearms, police officials say.
Damontra Gresham, 24, Dontavious Scott, 20, Dominik Scott, 24 and Aaron Barnes, 21, were arrested in connection with the December 1 kidnapping of two juveniles, 13 and 14 years of age, police officials say. While the victims escaped without injury, the incident was reported to the APD, which located the suspects and discovered a large cache of firearms in the black Chevrolet Impala they were driving, officials say.
Police officials say each of the suspects were then charged with aggravated assault, kidnapping, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felon, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, multiple counts of theft by receiving stolen property by CID and violation of the Georgia Street Gang Terrorism Act.
Further investigation by the APD resulted in the execution on search warrants at 1421 Avalon Ave., 1104-A Auburn St. and 419 S. Westover Road, Apt. 44, where addition stolen items were discovered, including shotguns, ammunition, a variety of flatscreen televisions, jewelry and other items.
Antonio Daniels, 23, Melodi Carter, 18, Chelita Anderson, 19 and Letia Baisden, 23, were arrested as a result of the residential searches and charged with tampering with evidence and theft by receiving stolen property, officials say. Capt. Wendy Luster with the Albany gang unit says the 24 firearms recovered so far is the biggest single haul for the APD and an important break in separating criminals from their guns.
“These same weapons could be used in robberies,” Luster said, “and that’s what we’re trying to avoid.”
Police believe that all the stolen items may be from gang-related burglaries, Luster said.
“Gang members are going to be involved with numerous felonies, so burglary would be one of those,” Luster said. “They tend to rob and be involved with burglary cases. They survive by stealing from other people.”
From what they know so far about the thefts, police officials say Dougherty County residences as well as those inside the city were involved. The APD is actively looking to find the owners of all the recovered items and ask that anyone who may have items recently stolen contact the APD at (229) 431-2100 with positive identification.