Thursday, January 8, 2009

Crime Ring Busted In Columbia County

Here is the bottom portion of the receipt. See slide show at the end of the story.

A Georgia couple was arrested Sunday, Dec. 28 after they were allegedly caught with more than $7,000 worth of stolen DVDs, CDs and other electronic merchandise from the Lake City Wal-Mart.

Mark Anthony Hudson, 37, Newton, Ga., and Donna Marlene King, 36, Valdosta, Ga., were charged with grand theft. This arrest would lead to the apprehension of seven others and the warrants for four others in what officials are describing as a crime ring.

“Officer Paul Kash was just very professional and did a really in-depth job and they admitted to being part of a (theft) ring based out of Georgia,” said Lake City Police Department Public Information Officer Lt. Joe Moody. “That’s what they did — they traveled all over the southeast and stole property.”

After the arrest, a joint investigation involving the Lake City Police Department, Columbia County Multi-Jurisdictional Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was launched and federal indictments are anticipated in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

Federal indictments are anticipated in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

Authorities said,the crime ring operated under the ring leader, who had 10 teams of two people, who stole the merchandise by mainly targeting Wal-Mart and other electronic equipment stores in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

During the investigation, authorities discovered and searched warehouses in Georgia and seized approximately $20,000 in cash. Six vehicles and more than $100,000 in stolen merchandise was recovered. Authorities also recovered four stolen guns, including two that were stolen from Department of Motor Carrier Compliance officials in Ocala.

Moody later said of the investigation, “Sgt. Shawn Raggins, Officer Paul Kash and Cpl. John Spahalski and Bob Mills with Wal-Mart security did a fabulous job.”

Some of the other alleged crimes included doctor shopping and making false identifications.

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