douglasville

Douglasville police announced they have arrested 10 members and associates of a street gang in connection to a robbery and aggravated assault that happened at Arbor Place Mall.

The incident happened on January 2.

Officers responded to a call reporting a large fight outside of the movie theater entrance.

After investigating, police determined the incident was gang-related.

“We were able to identify 10 of the individuals involved in this assault and robbery,” said Police Chief Gary Sparks. “They are presently waiting on disposition of their charges, so the techniques rendered that led to their arrests show that the Douglasville Police Department was able to successfully put the pieces of the puzzle together.”

Eight of the individuals arrested live in Douglas County and two are from Louisiana. The two people from Louisiana are in the process of being transferred to Georgia.

According to a police spokesperson, everyone arrested is under the age of 18.

“The investigation revealed that this criminal street gang was formed several years ago by youths attending Yeager Middle School,” said Lt. Ken Winklepleck, who added that the founders and members at the time were as young as 12 years old.

“Now, a few years later, representing the same gang and carrying that same gang mentality, this group has transitioned legally into a criminal street gang by committing serious crimes against the community in furtherance of their gang.”

Police noted Georgia law defines a criminal street gang "as a group of three or more people who share a common identifier to identify with or represent the gang who then commit certain crimes in furtherance of the gang.”

“The signs of this particular gang’s existence and the mindset of its members were evident before this latest incident,” Winklepleck said.

“The police investigation revealed that prior to the Jan. 2 incident, some of the gang members had been posting pictures and videos of their activities and their gang affiliation on their social media pages.”

Douglasville police are asking parents to be more attentive to their child's social media pages and posts, as well as who their children associate and hang out with.

“Some parents of those arrested in this case had no idea their kid was associated with a gang or any named group, for that matter. Had they been aware of what their kids were posting on social media, recognized what they were seeing was possibly gang-affiliated behavior, and then intervened, this incident may have never happened.”

“They also need to watch their dress and how they act,” he said. “They need to watch for subtleties in their dress that could be a sign of gang affiliation or in their actions on social media that can be an indication of gang involvement.”

Douglasville police became proactive after the city experienced its first gang-related shooting in 2007, according to police.

To date, the department has arrested dozens and helped prosecute over 100 gang members, police said.

CBS46 covered a another fight at the mall in December that police said was not related to the January incident.

Copyright 2021 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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