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Police report crime rate spike in entered autos, auto thefts

CONYERS - With a spike in crime during the month of June, Conyers has seen its overall crime rate increase in 2015 compared to last year.

In a meeting with the media Thursday, Conyers Chief of Police Gene Wilson said overall crime from Jan. 1 to June 30 of this year have increased by 8.4 percent when compared to the same time span a year ago.

The crimes included murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, arson, thefts and motor vehicle thefts. In total, there have been 502 of these types of incidents reported this year compared to 463 in 2014.

"We're not happy about it," he said.

There have been two situations that have been the main catalyst for the increase, according to Wilson.

The first involves West Virginia resident Timothy Ward, the 33-year-old who was captured by law enforcement in Spartanburg, South Carolina on June 18.

Wilson says Ward accounted for a large number of the burglaries and thefts that occurred in June.

"I think he hit us a great deal with breaking into cars, breaking into homes," said Wilson.

Overall, reported burglaries have increased by 75 percent, rising from 44 to 77, from last year while reported thefts are down 3 percent, dropping from 353 to 344.

The second incident involved a group of four suspects that broke into 26 cars that were parked in hotel parking lots in one night. The group was caught in the act and led police on a car chase down I-20 into Atlanta where a 13-year-old armed with a 9-mm semiautomatic was taken into custody.

The same group was spotted on surveillance cameras in Cobb County and Brookhaven committing similar crimes. The truck they used to run from the police and the gun found on the teenager were both reported stolen from Cobb County.

While the 13-year-old was caught, the other three suspects remain at large.

"These groups are moving all around the metro area," he said. "Folks got to understand this is happening all over the metro area."

Other factors that have led to this increase is the CPD being short-handed at this moment. He says at least 11 people are absent from patrolling because of other work related duties, military obligations or injures, and there are also officers who are on vacation right now.

"We're just running short right now," said Wilson.