Unidentified suspects breaking through a perimeter fence at the Albany Buffalo Rock Pepsi distributor on Jan. 5. (Special Photo)
ALBANY — Four members of the “Pepsi Generation” have been apprehended for the theft of outdated soft drinks from a local distributor, according to officers with the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office.
Capt. Craig Dodd, at a news conference Thursday, outlined the Saturday arrest of Chanda Marie Howard, Laquesha Monique Barber and De’Eric Tyshun Adams, all 17, for the theft of Pepsi products from Buffalo Rock/Pepsi Cola Distribution of Albany, 1011 Randolph St.
Howard and Barber were charged with criminal trespass and theft by taking (misdemeanor), Dodd said, while Adams, who was not in possession of stolen goods, was charged only with criminal trespass. For the purpose of prosecution, 17 is the age at which a defendant is considered an adult, Dodd said. A 14-year-old unidentified minor was also apprehended, Dodd said, and released in his mother’s custody.
Officials at Buffalo Rock had experienced a number of similar incidents, Dodd said, and approached the Sheriff’s Office for help. According to Dodd, as a result of that request, Sheriff’s Deputy Lynda Miller started a part-time employee position with the distributor to help monitor the fenced perimeter.
Officials say that on the evening of Jan. 18, Miller spotted the suspects on camera, entering the fence and taking canned drink products from a bin. Miller called for officer backup and the suspects were arrested, Dodd said.
Dodd said that while the drinks themselves were valued at only about $42, damage to the property over several instances, brought the victim’s total loss to around $2,000.
Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul, said that businesses can minimize theft losses by implementing good surveillance cameras and an alarm system connected into the 911 call center. If additional monitoring is required, Sheriff’s deputies or officers of other law enforcement agencies are available for part-time work, Sproul said.
“People might think ‘soft drinks? What kind of crime is that?’ Well, it’s a crime of criminal trespass,” Sproul said. “We don’t get to pick and choose what types of crimes we work. If we can apprehend teenagers at this age, and they realize the mistake they’ve made, this might prevent them from one day going into a felony situation.”