ATF thanks sheriff's investigators for gun case
Hard work led to federal time for 12 defendants in Autrey's Armory burglary
A number of Fayette County Sheriff’s investigators have been lauded for their work in the prosecution of 12 people related to the 2007 smash-and-grab burglary of 85 guns from Autrey’s Armory off Ga. Highway 314.
The federal prosecution of those defendants netted a combined sentence of 67 years in federal prison, along with the conviction of a juvenile suspect in Fayette County Juvenile Court, according to Gregory K. Gant, the special agent in charge of the ATF’s Atlanta Field Division.
All suspects were also ordered to pay more than $50,000 in restitution, Gant said.
Not only did the combined investigation between the sheriff’s office and ATF yield the Southside Mafia gang members who entered Autrey’s Armory that night, but also five additional suspects who “conspired to distribute the stolen fire arms,” Gant wrote in the letter commending the sheriff’s investigators.
The gun thieves used a truck stolen from Clayton County to drive through the storefront and gain access to the weapons. However, they did not take the magazines for the guns, and that proved to be their downfall, officials said.
The subsequent “lookout” for persons purchasing gun magazines proved to be fruitful within hours, Gant said.
ATF agents had much praise for the sheriff’s investigators “for their commitment and dedication during the first few tireless weeks to successfully coordinate, investigate and apprehend those responsible for this theft,” Gant wrote. “Additionally it is a testament to your office to selflessly work alongside our agents, to pool resources for the common good of the investigation and to stick to the commitment of doing the small things as well that led to the expedient solving of this crime.
“...Please convey my thanks and gratitude to Sgt. Keith Whiteside, Investigators Aaron Fenimore, Ethon Harper, Brian Lee, Brent Rowan and Capt. Mahlon Donald for their outstanding contribution to ATF’s mission of protecting the public and reducing violent crime. Special thanks should be expressed to lead investigator Joshua Shelton, who also tirelessly maintained his commitment through the federal judicial process.”
ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Scott Sweetow presented a special recognition to the investigators Tuesday.
The Clayton County and DeKalb County police departments also had significant involvement in the investigation, Gant said.