One of nine suspects charged in 2016 with smash-and-grab burglaries across Hall County was arrested Monday.
The arrest is part of a larger statewide investigation into an estimated $1.35 million in property damages and loss that led to more than 300 arrest warrants in 2017.
“The targets of this criminal gang known to investigators as ‘ABM’, All About Money, included gas stations and mom-and-pop type grocery stores,” Lt. Scott Ware wrote in a November 2017 news release. “The primary items which were stolen during the burglaries were safes, ATM machines and cigarettes.”
Gary Javon Stephens Jr., of Atlanta, was at the Gwinnett County Jail on other charges when the Hall County arrest warrant was served Oct. 29, according to the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.
Stephens is accused of three counts of smash-and-grab burglary after “knocking a hole in the back wall” of three North Hall businesses and taking merchandise, according to the warrants.
Lt. Scott Ware said seven others may be involved in those specific cases.
Stephens’ public defender Chris van Rossem declined to comment Tuesday.
The three businesses affected were the Mount Vernon Market on Mount Vernon Road, the Stop-By convenience store on Cleveland Highway and the Clermont Food Mart on Cleveland Highway.
Mount Vernon Market owner Minesh Patel took over the business the month after the burglary. He said the front door, safe and electronics in the store were damaged.
No one answered the phone at Clermont Food Mart on Tuesday, and a message seeking comment from Stop-By was not returned by deadline.
Investigators obtained warrants in July 2017 for the nine suspects in the eight total smash-and-grab burglaries reported between May and October 2016 in Hall.
“Everyone else has warrants, but if I recall correctly, they are locked up in other counties at the moment,” Ware said Tuesday, Oct. 30.
He could not confirm where any of the other suspects are being held. Ware could confirm that one of the suspects, Mario Pass, of Atlanta, was arrested on Oct. 5, 2017.
“In each case they caused in excess of $500 worth of damage to the stores and stole merchandise once inside,” Ware wrote in a news release.
Ware did not have information on total damage and property loss in Hall or what merchandise was stolen.