Welcome to the March edition of THE PENS DISPATCH. This bulletin is brought to you from the Cobb County Police, Precinct 3 Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU3) and is designed to keep you aware of safety alerts and crime trends in your area and measures you can take to keep you and your family safe.
Public Information Release
March 14, 2018
Sexual Assault ***Update***
Below is the sketch of the suspect in the sexual assault on March 9, 2018 detailed in this Public Information Release.
On March 9, 2018 at approximately 4:45 AM the victim was driving on Terrell Mill Road near paper Mill Road when she was pulled over by what she thought was a police vehicle. The male suspect approached the victim and during the course of speaking with her asked for her driver’s license. While she was reaching for her license the suspect grabbed the victim by her collar and opened her driver door. He then began to conduct what she thought was a “pat down” for her ID. Instead he began to grope and sexually assault the victim as she sat in her seat. After a brief time he stopped and let her leave the scene.
The suspect was driving a vehicle with a light bar on top of it. It is not known what type of vehicle. He was described as a white male, approximately 6 feet tall, with an average build, with short dark brown hair worn in a buzz cut, unshaven, and with a square-shaped head. He was described as being approximately 30 years of age. He was wearing a dark jacket with a light blue emblem or some other writing on it, a black vest with a star-shaped gold badge on one side and three service bars (gold) on the other. He was wearing a tan collared uniform shirt with a gold emblem on the left side of the collar and a white t-shirt under the uniform shirt. He was wearing dark pants. He was also wearing a police duty belt with a gun, Taser, and radio.
This uniform combination does not match any uniform of any law enforcement agency operating in Cobb County, be they County or other municipality.
The Cobb County Police Department advises citizens to be aware of their surroundings as often as possible, even when interacting with the police. Following are a few recommendations to consider when pulling over for an officer who is conducting a traffic stop:
- Pull over in a public area.
- Find a well-lit area so the officer can see you and you can see the officer. Turn on your hazard lights, slow down, and find the best location available to pull over.
- You do not have to roll your window all the way down in order to speak to an officer or give an officer your driver’s license and proof of insurance (but the license and proof of insurance are required to be handed over if an officer asks for them).
- You can call 911 and make sure you are being pulled over by an actual officer (if you are unsure due to darkness or the car not being easily recognized as a marked patrol vehicle) while driving slowly with your hazard lights on.
- If you suspect the individual is not an actual officer, call 911 immediately and give your location and a description of the suspect and suspect vehicle if visible. Stay on the phone with the 911 operator until an officer arrives to assist you.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Cobb County Police Department’s Crimes Against Persons Unit at 770-499-4111 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cobb County Police Department forms new Community Affairs Unit
The Cobb County Police Department now has a Community Affairs Unit. The Unit’s goal is to foster the relationship between the police and the citizens of Cobb County in order to have a positive police-community relationship. The Unit is supervised by Sgt. Jeff Tatroe and staffed by the following officers:
- Fernando Pharr – Pct. 1 area
- Neil Penirelli and Stephen DeLoach – Pct. 2 area
- Rasean Stoney – Pct. 3 area
- Nathalie Jegg – Pct. 4 area
- Jamaar Hicks – Pct. 5 area
Officer R.D. Stoney is currently assigned to the Community Affairs Unit of the Cobb County Police Department. He has been assigned to Precinct 3 for the last 4 years. He is an active participant in the Police Athletic League, a charitable non-profit organization whose mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of young people ages 4-15. The Community Affairs Unit seeks to establish partnerships within the community and is seeking invitations to meetings and events that foster partnerships and a working relationship between the community and the Cobb County Police Department. Officer Stoney be contacted at Rasean.Stoney@cobbcounty.org.
The Community Affairs Unit has many programs that help build bridges and enable residents and law enforcement to communicate, collaborate, and work together to build safer, more caring communities. Contact Sgt. Jeff Tatroe at 770-499-3981 to see how the Community Affairs Unit can be involved with schools, neighborhoods, businesses and homeowners associations.
Crime Tips: Entering Auto and Vehicle Theft Prevention
The most current and prevalent crime trend in Precinct 3 for February is a particular type of theft called “sliders.” Criminals target your unlocked vehicles while you are distracted pumping gas at convenience stores. They steal purses, wallets, and keys that are often left on the passenger seat of cars. If bank cards are taken, they are promptly used at stores or online. There are things you can do to help protect yourself from falling victim to these sorts of crimes:
- Stay alert to your surroundings
- These crimes have been primarily committed by teenaged young men operating out of newer model high end vehicles that are stolen from other incidents.
- Watch for vehicles at gas stations that are neither at a pump nor in a parking space.
- Pay particular attention to a vehicle that stops parallel to yours while you are pumping gas.
- Pay attention to your vehicle instead of watching the gallon and cost gauges increase on the pumps.
- Lock your vehicle while pumping fuel at gas stations.
- Do not leave your wallet, purse, or keys inside your vehicle.
What to do if you find yourself a victim of a “slider,” or witness one of these crimes:
- DO NOT attempt to engage these subjects. While these crimes have not turned violent, the suspects are suspected gang members and are known to carry firearms.
- Try to get a good description of the suspects and vehicle. Tag numbers, damage or stickers on cars, tattoos, scars, hairstyles, and clothing are all helpful in attempting to identify these criminals.
- When they leave the parking lot, note their direction of travel.
- Call the police and report the incident.
- Let the 911 dispatcher know any descriptions you obtained and the direction of travel.
- Cancel your credit cards – While speaking with the companies have them give you your complete card number and pertinent information of any fraudulent charges. Having the date, time, and address of a fraudulent transaction helps investigators tremendously.
Additionally, we have found that the same suspects involved in “sliders” have simultaneously been in neighborhoods looking for open garages and unlocked vehicles. They will steal wallets and purses, but will also steal a vehicle if the keys are in it.
- Keep your garage doors closed while you are not present in the garage, even while inside your home.
- Continue to be alert, it is not uncommon for these suspects to enter your garage while you simply run inside your house to grab a last-minute item.
- Even if your car is in your garage, lock your vehicle’s doors and take the keys inside.
Significant Arrests and Recoveries
On March 14, 2018 at 9:28 PM, Precinct 3 officers responded to a report of a Burglary/Auto Theft at a townhome community off Atlanta Rd near I-285. The suspects shattered the window of the victim’s van that was parked outside and accessed the garage using the garage door opener from inside the van. They then stole a black SUV that was parked inside the garage with the keys in it.
Later that evening, an alert citizen several miles away on Wehunt Commons Drive observed a suspicious black SUV driving slowly though his neighborhood. The occupants appeared to be looking into vehicles and trying to enter vehicles. The citizen immediately contacted 911 to report the suspicious activity on his street. Precinct 3 officers responded to the area and located the black SUV (confirmed to be the same vehicle stolen earlier off Atlanta Rd) leaving the neighborhood. On arrival of the police, the stolen SUV immediately fled south into the City of Atlanta. The vehicle was tracked and recovered abandoned in NW Atlanta approximately 20 minutes later. The stolen vehicle was recovered and processed by Precinct 3 detectives. Later the same morning, Precinct 3 Criminal Investigation Unit detectives were able to return the victim’s important personal property from inside the SUV so that she could depart for a business trip. Detectives located additional evidence from other entering autos in the recovered vehicle and our investigation continues as this time.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the watchful citizen who contacted 911 immediately on sight of the suspicious vehicle in his neighborhood. His proactive action prevented additional victims and helped us recover this stolen vehicle and property within hours of the theft. Our partnership with alert and watchful citizens in our community is key to preventing and solving these crimes. All community members are encouraged to immediately contact 911 with detailed descriptions of any suspicious activity they observe in their neighborhood. All residents are also reminded to always close and lock their garage doors and lock and remove the keys from vehicles inside their garage.
Finally, we want to recognize the great work of the officers and detectives at Precinct 3 in working together with residents to solve and prevent these types of thefts.
Cobb Department of Public Safety (DPS) staff are working to enhance the delivery of near real-time information to residents about incidents that may have significant and/or imminent impacts on their safety or welfare. DPS has implemented the SwiftReach Swift911 notification system to distribute these types of alerts.
SwiftReach is a high-speed emergency notification system that alerts residents to emergency situations including severe weather, missing and endangered persons or significant road closures due to fatality accidents or other unplanned incidents in the local area. The program has the capability of delivering pre-recorded messages to the entire county via telephone, cell phone, email and text messaging. The system uses a publicly-available list of phone numbers that can be removed or updated by both residents and businesses.
There are two simple options to opt-in and provide contact information for this service. A sign up portal is available on the Police, Fire, EMA and Public Safety pages on the Cobb County website. Residents can also get the Swift911 Mobile App by texting the word “Swift911” to “99538.” The response text will be a link for the Swift 911 app in the app store. SwiftReach is another example of using current technology to ensure residents receive vital information from the Department of Public Safety. For more information, visit the Department of Public Safety page at www.cobbcounty.org and click on the SwiftReach icon.