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Local Residents Help Police Nab Burglar

An accused burglar suspected of crimes in the Midtown area is behind bars, thanks to the help of Virginia Highland residents.

Thanks to the vigilance of Virginia Highland residents, an accused burglar is now behind bars.

Charles Echols, 54, is in the Fulton County Jail on 14 charges related to burglary, according to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office website.

“We believe he is responsible for 13 burglaries in Morningside, Midtown, Virginia Highland, North Highland, Amsterdam and Monroe,” said Atlanta Police Department spokesman Carlos Campos.

Last week, police asked people to be on the lookout for Echols. He was wanted for suspected parole violation in connection with burglary. As the word spread on a Yahoo Group message board, VHlist, neighbors started reporting sightings of Echols.

According to a safety report compiled by John Wolfinger, coordinator of the VaHi neighborhood watch, things started picking up just before 5 p.m. on Aug. 22. The Arlington Place Street Captain posted a message that she had just seen Echols on her street and had called 911 with a physical description, including his clothing. 

Then just after 7 p.m., Atlanta Police sent a message that they had tracked down Echols and arrested him, according to Wolfinger’s report, which is given to Atlanta Police.

“This day was a great example of community participation with APD and could not have happened without our electronic message boards and a lot of alert and aware citizens,” Wolfinger said in his report.

Wolfinger also included a statement from an Atlanta Police detective, who said, “When he was arrested, he had a laptop, jewelry and other small items in his possession. I interviewed him and he told me about two burglaries he had just committed ...These two homes are where the items he had on him came from.  He agreed to point out other houses he had broken into - which we did on Thursday. There were about 8 houses he identified in Morningside. He did cut his hand during a break-in, but he could not remember where. Luckily, we have his DNA on file.”

Police say they are trying to recover as much property as possible and want to “have a viewing somewhere in the neighborhood so people can come and identify their property,” according to Wolfinger’s report.

John Wolfinger August 30, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Echols identified a Midtown home on 9th Street that he "visited' as well as an Ansley Park residence on Peachtree Circle. The three involved community prosecutors representing APD Zones 2, 5 and 6 are all well aware of Echols and his escapades, so there should be notice from the DA's office giving victims a chance to CourtWatch his hearings, Having a large crowd of CourtWatching victims in the courtroom should help to show the judge that he deserves a long time behind bars for the inconvenience and expense he wrought on so many households. All of these victims should make plans attend the CourtWatch training session on 9/11/2012 from 5:30 to 8 at the Helene Mills Center (515 John Wesley Dobbs Avenue, ATL 30312) in the Old 4th Ward, so they will better understand the legal process of the courts, and know what to expect at the hearings.

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