A Dawson County Grand Jury has indicted six people authorities say are part of a group known as the Blue Jean Bandits on a combined total of almost 50 charges.
The six suspects were arrested in June after a foiled burglary attempt at North Georgia Premium Outlets.
The June 10 attempted burglary at the outlet mall marked the second time in less than a month that bandits targeted the Saks 5th Avenue Outlet.
More than $10,000 in designer blue jeans were taken in mid-May during an early morning smash and grab.
Altavious Demon Jackson, Deyancious Maritou Lewis, Jermichael Jerod Lockette, Demarcus Smith, Abby Marba Holland and James Edward Burson were indicted Aug. 6.
Authorities with a task force set up by the Atlanta Police Department to investigate a string of high-end clothing thefts in the Atlanta area now say the Dawsonville incidents are related to those in the metro area.
At least one of the suspects has been implicated in an earlier Buckhead heist, authorities said.
During first appearance hearings for the suspects in June, Assistant District Attorney John Wilbanks said, he was considering charging the group with violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and Gang Laws in addition to the string of charges related to the attempted burglary and subsequent manhunt.
The indictment included a similar charge of violating Georgia’s Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act for each suspect. Each suspect is charged with conspiracy to commit burglary, conspiracy to commit theft by taking, conspiracy to commit criminal damage to property in the second degree.
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, before a security guard reported the suspicious activity, which drew two Dawson sheriff’s deputies to the mall.
The suspects fled and a chase down Ga. 400 followed.
The suspects ran from the van after wrecking just north of Pilgrim Mill Road in Forsyth County.
Lewis, Jackson, Lockette and Smith are also charged with attempted burglary, possession of a firearm and theft by receiving a motor vehicle.
According to the indictment, a Ruger .9 mm pistol with a 30 round magazine was recovered from the stolen van.
Jackson also faces a charge of giving a false name and date of birth and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Lewis and Smith are also charged with forgery and obstruction of an officer.
Lockette’s additional charges include four counts of forgery in the first degree and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Wilbanks said Lockette faces several additional felony charges related to incidents that have occurred while in custody at the Dawson County Detention Center.
Authorities think that Holland and Burson traveled from the Atlanta area on June 10 to pick up the other suspects after the botched heist.
Holland, who has no criminal background, was released after posting bond, while Burson, whose bond was set at $20,000, remains in custody. The four others were denied bail.
In addition to the conspiracy to commit theft and false statement charges, Smith, who authorities think drove the van, also faces at least eight traffic violations, the most serious of which include driving while unlicensed, reckless driving, speeding and fleeing/attempting to elude.
The suspects, according to Wilbanks, have numerous prior felony and misdemeanor convictions and charges, ranging from carrying a concealed weapon and burglary to drugs and aggravated assault.
Burson’s prior convictions range from theft by receiving to violating Georgia’s Controlled Substance Act and habitual violator, according to the indictment.
E-mail Michele Hester at firstname.lastname@example.org.