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2 men charged with burglary lead to 5 more arrests
Hall County Sheriff's officials found a large amount of stolen property Tuesday at a residence in Flowery Branch. - photo by Hall County Sheriffs Office

Hall County Sheriff's officials charged two men with burglary after arresting them and five others in western Hall County.

A Hall County deputy on patrol saw a vehicle Tuesday morning on Lamplighter Cove Road investigators said was used in previous burglaries.

"He made contact with the three occupants and brought them back for interviews, and we determined they were our burglary suspects," said Sgt. Kiley Sargent, head of Criminal Investigations Division officers who deal with
property and theft.

Victor David Zuniga, 20, of Gainesville, and Carlos Ruben Lopez, 22, of Flowery Branch were charged with burglary, criminal trespass and loitering. Charges are pending on the third male.

"During the interviews, the subjects began to talk, and that's how we determined the location of the stolen property," Sargent said. "That's how the search warrant came about. Once we got to the house, we ran across a whole bunch of stuff - a lot of costume jewelry and electronics."

At about 6 p.m. Tuesday, investigators searched a residence in the 3900 block of Wakefield Drive in Flowery Branch. While searching the house, officers arrested five more men.

Steven D. Key, 21, of Flowery Branch, was charged with an outstanding Superior Court probation warrant. Jacob Hortman, 21, of Flowery Branch, was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of Oxycodone with intent to distribute, possession of diazepam, drugs out their original container and possession of a firearm while in commission of a felony.

"The last three came up while serving the search warrant," Sargent said. "They came to purchase drugs, thinking Hortman was selling, and they didn't know he was in custody."

Christopher Boddie, 27, of Oakwood, was charged with criminal attempt to purchase Oxycodone.

Taylor McCullough, 19, of Flowery Branch, was charged with criminal attempt to purchase Oxycodone and on an outstanding warrant that accuses him of consuming alcohol under the age of 21.

Grant Wright, 23, of Gainesville, was charged with criminal attempt to purchase Oxycodone.

"There are more charges pending on other people," Sargent
said. "This is the onset of a bigger investigation. It's just the tip of the iceberg with these burglaries."

Officers will now spend a few days trying to identify and return the items. Some stolen property, such as digital cameras with photographs on them, have already been identified. Officers are looking through each recent burglary report filed within the past few months.

"We need homeowners and neighborhood watch people to get involved," he said. "The bottom line is being a nosey neighbor because nobody knows a neighborhood better than the people who live there."

Sargent also recommended residents take video and photograph evidence of their valuable items, especially recording the serial numbers.

"Find a day to videotape everything in your house. Just walk through and get closeups of everything," he said.
"Jewelry is hard to recover because a gold wedding ring
looks like any gold wedding ring. But if you have photos of you wearing it, we can figure out who it belongs to."

Photos and video evidence should then be stored in e-mails, an electronic storage device or a safety deposit box, he said.

"We're pleased of the recoveries we've made," Sargent said. "The investigation is ongoing, and we feel confident this will lead to more charges on more people."

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