Dawson County authorities were not part of the original Atlanta area task force set up to catch a group of thieves targeting high-end department stores, but after a foiled robbery attempt at the Saks Fifth Avenue Outlet in Dawsonville in June, Dawson County’s involvement in the case tipped the theft ring wide open.
The June 10 attempted burglary at the outlet mall marked the second time in less than a month that bandits targeted the outlet, where more than $10,000 in designer blue jeans were taken in mid-May during an early morning smash and grab at the same store.
Authorities say those involved, five men and a woman, have ties to the Atlanta theft ring known as the Blue Jean Bandits.
The group was indicted by a Dawson County Grand Jury in August with a combined total of almost 50 charges, including charges related to gang association and firearm possession, in addition to attempted burglary, automobile theft and traffic violations.
Altavious Demon Jackson, Deyancious Maritou Lewis, Jermichael Jerod Lockette, Demarcus Smith and James Edward Burson are still in Dawson County custody. Abby Marba Holland, who had no prior convictions, was released on bail.
The crew was apprehended throughout the day June 10, after authorities say they backed up a stolen 2006 silver Dodge Caravan to the Saks outlet. A mall security guard reported the suspicious activity and the suspects fled south on Ga. 400. The van wrecked in Forsyth County.
Authorities think that Holland and Burson traveled from the Atlanta area on June 10 to pick up the other suspects after the botched heist.
The suspects, aside from Holland, were found to have numerous prior felony and misdemeanor convictions and charges, ranging from carrying a concealed weapon and burglary, to drugs and aggravated assault.
The group is now awaiting trial, which could begin as early as February, according to Northeastern Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney John Wilbanks.