By RICK HEAD, Alma Times Editor
The Alma Police Department (APD) has been besieged by a burglary involving 15 weapons, a shooting incident that left two injured and a drug bust that resulted in the arrests of two.
All of the incidents have happened since the Dec. 21 announcement of new Police Chief Michael Leslie.
A day after taking office the APD was notified of a burglary at 713 West 11th St. at the home of Ricky Sweat. The victim originally reported 14 guns taken, with a 15th later added (AR15 rifle), along with an undisclosed amount of ammunition.
The APD has recovered nine of the weapons with six being unaccounted for, including the AR15. Two guns were recovered in Jeff Davis, one was returned by a buyer in Patterson, one was located in Ludowici and another in Reidsville.
The others were returned several hours after a search warrant was executed at the home of Lorenzo Henderson (age unknown), who lives on 714 Market St. in Alma.
Henderson is one of two who have been arrested in the case thus far. Leslie said he anticipates more.
“We have arrested Lorenzo Henderson, who has already bonded out of jail, on theft by receiving stolen property,” said Leslie. “We didn’t recover any evidence at his home. But, I can actually put a particular weapon in his hands because it was photographed on a table in the home.
“I am going to urge the prosecutor’s office to indict him on nine counts of theft by receiving. We can place more than nine weapons in his possession to selling to third parties.
“The other is Shane Rea (age unknown) of Hazlehurst. He turned himself in (Monday) Jan. 4. He was arrested for theft by receiving after denying he had purchased a gun from Henderson.”
According to Leslie, investigators received information that a local resident (Henderson) was selling the stolen weapons on Facebook’s Georgia Gun Trader website. His Facebook name is Lo Zo Pound.
“We interviewed the subject (Henderson) at a local business and he voluntarily went to his home with us,” he said. “During the interview he gave us five or six names he sold the guns to.”
The chief is asking the public for help in the case.
“If anyone has bought a gun from Lorenzo Henderson since Dec. 22,” said Leslie, “we would appreciate it if they would come to the police department with the weapon and allow us to inspect the serial number. That way we can verify whether it is one of the six that remain at large.
“We are not interested in prosecuting anyone that willingly will return the property to its rightful owner. I anticipate more arrests, but I don’t want to disclose anymore information at this time.”
Just after midnight Saturday, Jan. 9, police responded to a shooting at 141 Briteblue Drive south of town off Meadow Road. Officers discovered Marcus Batton had been shot several times, and his wife, April Batton, had been beaten.
Marcus Batton is expected to survive the 1 a.m. incident while the extent of April Batton’s injuries were not released. According to Leslie, the couple told police the shooters demanded money during the assault.
One of the suspects, whose name has not yet been released, was arrested shortly after the information was provided. While searching for the remaining suspects, who are still at large, APD discovered a wanted fugitive was located at the Days Inn in Alma.
In addition to locating the fugitive, officers discovered more than two ounces of marijuana packaged for sale, more than a dozen Tramadol tablets and $9,900 in cash.
Shanique Morgan, 21, of Alma, was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, said Leslie.
Marcelle Jenkins, 23, of Alma, was arrested on a battery warrant, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, Leslie said.