Walton/Gwinnett SO sting brings down Internet scammers after armed robbery/kidnap attempt

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As the result of a sting operation conducted by Walton County Sheriff’s Office and the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office, two men and a juvenile are now in custody following an armed robbery and kidnapping attempt that happened in the Loganville area of Walton County this week.

According to Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman, the events unfolded after a local high school student responded to an ad Wednesday to buy a cellphone through the online app LetGo. She and a friend gave the sellers their address and three unknown males arrived at the address and, at knifepoint, forceable took the money and attempted to force the young girls into the car.

“She has injuries that look like she was dragged while the car was going down the road,” Chapman said. “She was lucky to get away.”

In a press release Friday, Capt. Kirk McLeroy of the WCSO gave details of the incident as well as the sting operation that brought down the suspects.

“The suspects, two adults and one juvenile, met with a female juvenile and subsequently stole $230.00 in cash from the victim after allegedly brandishing a knife and attempting to force the victim into a vehicle. The victim was able to provide information to investigators that led to a coordinated undercover operation in partnership with the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office,” McLeroy said in the release, going on to describe the follow up undercover operation that led to the arrests. McLeroy said two of the suspects arrived at a location in Gwinnett County and actually attempted another armed robbery, this time on undercover officers.

“Both suspects were arrested in Gwinnett County without incident and no injuries were reported. The investigation continued and led to a third arrest in the city of Gainesville, Georgia,” McLeroy said. “The continued and combined efforts between the Walton County Sheriff’s Office and the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office, with the assistance of the Gainesville Police Department, resulted in the capture of a dangerous group of individuals that preyed upon and targeted online purchasers. This case should serve as a reminder to be cautious when dealing with online purchases and it is recommended to meet in a public place or at your local law enforcement agency.”

Konterrias Dante Thomas, 19, of Braselton, Clarence Avery James, 19, of Flowery Branch and a 15-year-old from Gainesville are all charged with armed robbery, aggravated assault and kidnapping.

Chapman had high praise for his deputies who, with the help of GCSO,  worked around the clock to get these criminals off the streets. At the TRIAD meeting in Loganville Friday he said the department also had received high praise from Randy McGinley, chief assistant district attorney for the Alcovy Circuit Court that covers both Walton and Newton County. McGinley had sent him a text that read, “From a non work prospective, I appreciate living in a county with you and everyone with y’all working long hours and being so proactive on a case like this. And obviously, very much appreciate it from the DAs office perspective.”

Chapman noted that all the local police departments as well as the Sheriff’s Office are much better locations to meet and conduct any online transaction with a potential buyer or seller about whom you have no knowledge. They all have designated areas that allow for such exchanges to take place.

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