Five men and a woman are behind bars after Bulloch County Sheriff’s investigators linked them to a rash of residential burglaries and an armed robbery, said Bulloch County Sheriff Lynn Anderson. A seventh suspect was arrested on unrelated charges after being found in the same location as the other suspects.
After making an initial arrest Friday, deputies recovered truck loads of stolen merchandise. Further investigation led to more arrests and even more loads of TVs, electronics, guns and jewelry, he said.
One suspect, Christopher Shawn Burnette, 23, Burkhalter Mobile Home Park, was apprehended after investigators discovered he pawned some jewelry stolen from one of about a dozen victims. After stopping the van in which Burnette was riding Friday evening, investigators arrested him on charges of 11 counts of burglary, 13 counts of theft by taking (firearms), felony theft by receiving stolen property, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, probation violation, misdemeanor theft by taking, (two counts) and theft by deception, Anderson said.
Burnette was sent to jail, but investigators went to his Burkhalter Road home to recover additional items that were believed to have been stolen. Just as they arrived, a car fitting the description of one involved in an armed robbery earlier that night pulled into the yard in front of them, Anderson said.
The car was indeed the one for which deputies had been searching in connection to the armed robbery, which took place near Simmons Pond on Ga. 46, he said. Deputies arrested Mathew Douglas Duke, 23, John Wells Road, Hinesville, on charges of armed robbery, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
He was also linked to the same burglaries for which Burnette was arrested, and charged with 1 count of burglary, 13 counts of theft by taking firearm, two counts of theft by taking and one count of theft by deception, Anderson said. The handgun suspected to have been used in the armed robbery was recovered from Burnette when he was arrested later that night, he said.
Angela Gail Huggins, 26, King Drive, Carrollton, was an occupant of the car, and was also charged with party to the crime of armed robbery, 11 counts of burglary, 13 counts of theft by taking (firearm) and two counts of theft by taking.
A third occupant, Jared Winfield Burnsed, 24, Beautiful Zion Church Road, Pembroke, was also charged with party to the crime of armed robbery, he said.
Further investigation after Friday’s arrests led to additional stolen property being recovered, as well as two more suspects being arrested, he said. Anthony Scott Winter, 24, Dry Branch Village, Register, was charged with theft by receiving stolen property and probation violation. Carl Roscoe Winter, 23, Cedarwood Acres Mobile Home Park, Register, was charged with felony theft by receiving stolen property and two counts of use of an item with an altered serial number.
A seventh person was arrested during the investigation, but not in connection with any burglaries or the armed robbery, Anderson said. Lawrence Lavon Harden, 25, Cedarwood Acres Mobile Home Park, Register, happened to be at one location investigators searched, and when deputies questioned him, he gave a false name, Anderson said. When his true identity was discovered, Harden was charged with obstruction, giving false information and was found to be wanted on two bench warrants, he said.
All suspects were taken to the Bulloch County Jail, where they remain without bond.