Driving in the morning hours delivering newspapers, Sandi Passmore is the “early eyes and ears” for the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office, Maj. Mike Ramsey said.
Passmore, who has been a carrier for The Times for 39 years, and Danny Griffin were honored for their quick action that “led to crucial leads” in a string of statewide smash-and-grab burglaries.
The two were given the Community Crime Prevention Award in a Wednesday ceremony in Dahlonega.
Ramsey said Passmore was delivering newspapers in June 2016 after 4 a.m. to the South Chestatee Street Texaco when they came upon a burglary in progress.
Passmore and Griffin stayed on scene and contacted authorities, causing the would-be burglars to exit through the back and leave evidence behind.
“With the information that we were able to gain from just this burglary here, we were able to help join a burglary task force that started investigating all this string of activity,” Ramsey said.
A task force with investigators from Hall, Athens-Clarke, Floyd and Gwinnett counties discovered multiple street gangs “believed to be responsible for 153 commercial store burglaries,” Hall County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Scott Ware previously told The Times.
“These gangs have been attributed to an estimated $1.35 million in total confirmed loss and property damage throughout the state of Georgia since 2015,” Ware said.
“We have a great group of carriers delivering The Times every morning, and it is always gratifying to hear they have gone out of their way to help others. We certainly are proud of Sandi and Danny, and appreciate the special recognition by the Lumpkin Sheriff’s Office,” said Times General Manager Norman Baggs.
Passmore said it was “shocking” and she was “amazed” to learn about how she became involved in a case of such magnitude.
“They told us, ‘Well, if it weren’t for y’all pulling in there and delivering papers that morning, they might still be on the go,’” she said.