Larry Taffar was working in his garden March 9 when he noticed two men sprint past his house behind the outlet mall.
“I thought maybe they were working for my renter or helping out my son carry junk, but when I saw them try to hide under the back porch of my rental house, I knew something wasn’t right,” he said.
Calling for dogs Roscoe and Charlie to join him, Taffar dialed 911 from his cell phone and began walking to the back side of his property.
“I got down and looked under the porch and sure enough they were there hiding together,” Taffar said. “I told them to get their you-know-whats out from my property or I was going to send my big dog Roscoe in after them.”
Taffar and his dogs, who waited by the porch for sheriff’s deputies to arrive, are being credited for helping catch what authorities say are shoplifting suspects.
Moments earlier that day, three men had been seen leaving the Saks Fifth Avenue Outlet store with nearly $8,000 in designer jeans and running toward Lumpkin Campground Road.
Dawson County Sheriff’s Lt. Tony Wooten said authorities arrived and took Kazembe Lasana Mack, 21, and Derico Elijah Wesley, 20, both of Atlanta, into custody without incident.
A third suspect, who was a juvenile, was apprehended behind Brillo’s Pizza and Wings, a short distance away.
Each suspect has been charged with one felony count of theft by shoplifting for reportedly taking 45 pairs of jeans.
All of the merchandise has been recovered and returned to the store.
Mack, who had three aggravated assault and one armed robbery warrants in Fulton County, and Wesley are being held without bond in the Dawson County detention center.
The juvenile suspect has been released to his parents.
Authorities said they suspect a getaway car was waiting for the trio outside the mall, though no one has been charged with helping the group.
A man thought to have been waiting was arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession.
Taffar said he’s had several phone calls from friends asking him about the incident.
“I told them I didn’t do anything anybody else wouldn’t have done,” he said. “They were on my property and as a taxpayer in Dawson County, I wanted them off. I wasn’t leaving until the police arrived.”
Wooten said the outlet mall has experienced a rash of thefts in recent months, as well as a number of smash-and-grab break-ins.
During the most recent incident, an estimated $30,000 in cell phones was taken from the AT&T store Feb. 28.
There have been no arrests in the case.