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Monday, August 27, 2012

Residents and cops work together to catch Va-Hi burglar

Charles Echols
  • Va-Hi Patch
  • Charles Echols
A prolific burglar who's accused of preying upon homeowners in Virginia-Highland and Morningside is behind bars this week, thanks to a collaborative effort between Atlanta Police and resourceful Va-Hi residents.

Last Wednesday, Zone 6 officers released a BOLO (be on the lookout) for Charles Echols, who was wanted for a parole violation associated with a recent burglary.

A Va-Hi Safety Team street captain spotted Echols near her home, provided police with a detailed description of what he was wearing, and within two hours, Echols was behind bars. Not only that, but he also confessed to several recent burglaries, had stolen property on his person, and even more stolen stuff was found in his Westside home.

A Zone 6 detective wrote ...

Wednesday started with a tip as to the location of Echols. When he was arrested, he had a laptop, jewelry and other small items in his possession. I interviewed him and he told me about two burglaries he had just committed ... These two homes are where the items he had on him came from. He agreed to point out other houses he had broken into, which we did on Thursday. There were about eight houses he identified in Morningside. He did cut his hand during a break-in, but he could not remember where. Luckily, we have his DNA on file, so it's a matter of time before we can say for certain that [another break in] was also his handiwork.

I searched a home on the Westside and recovered a large amount of jewelry and two laptops, one of which came from a Morningside home. I've also learned that some jewelry was taken to a pawnshop and am working to see if it is still there.

I'd like to recover everything possible and then have a viewing somewhere in the neighborhood so people can come and identify their property.

Neighbors are attributing the successful capture in part to their Yahoo Group messageboard (Vhlist) where several residents posted about Echols sightings. Something to think about for neighborhoods that don't have active messageboards. Or for residents who avoid their neighborhood's messageboard.

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