Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department

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October 29, 2014

Halloween Safety

In preparation for Halloween trick-or-treating fun, Sheriff Butch Conway encourages parents to be aware of the 471 registered sex offenders currently residing in our community.

“We work hard to ensure that registered sex offenders in Gwinnett County are living where they tell us.  It’s important that our citizens know who they are and where they are living,” says Sheriff Conway.  Citizens are encouraged to check any addresses where they or their families spend time, especially in anticipation of Halloween trick-or-treating.

“If you aren’t planning on trick-or-treating in your own neighborhood, but will do so in a different neighborhood, it’s a good idea to check that address beforehand so that you know which houses to avoid,” adds Sheriff Conway.

Citizens can visit our website at www.gwinnettcountysheriff.com and click on the “Sex Offenders” link, select “Search for Offenders in your Area” and follow the instructions to check their neighborhood for offenders.  The site is very user friendly and features many other beneficial tools, such as the ability to sign up for free automatic notifications if an offender moves within a specific radius of any address that you enter.  The alerts are in real time and sent out via e-mail as soon as a new offender has registered with the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office.

The site also offers numerous links to year round safety tips for parents and children.  Halloween is a special time of year for many children and we encourage parents to take these simple steps to help ensure a safe and fun night for their families:

•    A responsible adult should accompany children under 12 years old when trick-or-treating
•    Ensure costumes fit well, are flame retardant and never obscure visibility
•    Have your trick-or-treater wear reflective clothing
•    Children over the age of 12 and who are responsible enough to go without you should stay in groups, follow a pre-determined route and watch for cars
•    Check your local law enforcement agency’s website for registered sex offenders in your area
•    Remind children to never enter any home without you or without your permission and to only approach homes that are well lit
•    Let children know to tell a trusted adult if they see anything weird or unusual
•    Teach children to bring treats home before eating them.  Eat only factory-wrapped treats unless you know the giver well
•    Teach your children to say “NO” and “GET AWAY” from any person or situation making them scared, uncomfortable or confused, even if it means yelling, kicking, attracting attention or any other means of resisting.  Teach them to trust their feelings and be sure to tell a trusted adult about any incident
•    Consider safe alternatives to trick-or-treating, such as parties at home, schools or community organized events
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October 7, 2014

Automated External Defibrillators

For immediate release:

The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office began issuing automated external defibrillators (AED) today. By the end of next week, all GCSO patrol vehicles will be equipped with this life saving device.

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable device that checks the heart rhythm. If needed, it can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm. AEDs are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest, which occurs when the heart’s electrical system malfunctions. The American Heart Association estimates that 568,400 Americans suffered cardiac arrest last year.

One hundred AED units were purchased using drug forfeiture funds. Sheriff Butch Conway says, “If one of these AEDs saves a life, it is a worthwhile expense.”

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October 1, 2014

Beat the Heat NOPI Nationals

For Immediate Release:

Our Beat the Heat team will be competing in the NOPI Nationals Supershow on Friday, September 19 at 6:00 pm at the Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Georgia.

Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Deputy Richard Younker will be racing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in his modified 2004 VW Jetta (photo attached).  The NOPI National Supershow runs Friday through Sunday and attracts over 30,000 visitors. Deputy Younker is an active member of the Gwinnett County Beat the Heat team, which is a team of local law enforcement officers who volunteer their time to educate our communities about the dangers of illegal street racing, distracted driving and DUI. No tax dollars are used to maintain this program.

Event attendees are encouraged to visit the Gwinnett County Beat the Heat booth, located near the event’s main stage.

For more information about our Beat the Heat team or to schedule them to visit your youth organization, visit www.bthgwinnett.org or follow them on Facebook.
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September 19, 2014

Beat the Heat

For Immediate Release:

Our Beat the Heat team will be competing in the NOPI Nationals Supershow starting on Friday, September 19 at 6:00 pm at the Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Georgia.

Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Deputy Richard Younker will be racing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in his modified 2004 VW Jetta (photo attached). The NOPI National Supershow runs Friday through Sunday and attracts over 30,000 visitors. Deputy Younker is an active member of the Gwinnett County Beat the Heat team, which is a team of local law enforcement officers who volunteer their time to educate our communities about the dangers of illegal street racing, distracted driving and DUI. No tax dollars are used to maintain this program.

Event attendees are encouraged to visit the Gwinnett County Beat the Heat booth, located near the event’s main stage.

For more information about our Beat the Heat team or to schedule them to visit your youth organization, visit www.bthgwinnett.org or follow them on Facebook.
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September 12, 2014

Warrant Sweep

The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office has concluded a two day warrant sweep that resulted in the arrest of 73 wanted persons and the service of 106 arrest warrants.

On September 10th and 11th, 154 law enforcement officers from the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office, Gwinnett Felony Probation and Gwinnett Parole joined forces to serve warrants in Gwinnett County.

The success of this warrant sweep is attributed to the hard work of everyone involved.  “Warrant service requires a lot of preparation and a lot of knocking and talking.  This operation was particularly successful and we appreciate the efforts of our deputies and the Gwinnett Felony Probation and Gwinnett Parole officers,” stated GCSO Field Operations Division Commander Major Kirk Williamson.

The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office provides warrant service for all law enforcement agencies in Gwinnett County and our Field Operations Division serves approximately 3,000 warrants per year.

September 5, 2014

Jenkins Arrest

For immediate release:

Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office SWAT negotiators convinced a barricaded murder suspect to peacefully surrender tonight after a two hour standoff at a home in  Lawrenceville.

Suspect Devon Jenkins, wanted by Duluth Police for the August 6 murder of Adam Schrier and the shooting of a woman and young child, initially refused to leave the home at 311Bedford Bay Lane, barricading himself in the upstairs area of the home with 4 young children and an adult female inside.  Sheriff’s SWAT team members safely secured the adult female and two of the children and established contact with Jenkins via cell phone.

The LAV150 armored personnel carrier, provided to the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office by the federal 1033 program, which allows the military to give law enforcement a variety of surplus equipment, enabled SWAT negotiators to safely gain close proximity to the home for peaceful negotiations and to maintain communication via the LAV’s speaker system after Jenkins’ cell phone died.

SWAT negotiators successfully persuaded Jenkins to bring the two remaining young children, ages 3 and 4, to the front door of the residence, where they were safely released to their mother.  Jenkins surrendered to awaiting SWAT team deputies and was transported to the Gwinnett County Jail without further incident.

Sheriff Butch Conway was at the scene and, as promised, placed calls to Congressman Hank Johnson’s cell phone (which was discovered to be a wrong number) and office.  He was advised by the Congressman’s staff that Congressman Johnson was not available and that the Sheriff’s message would be relayed.  As of this press release, Sheriff Conway’s call has not been returned.
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September 2, 2014

Murder Arrest – Stidwell

For immediate release:

Deputies assigned to the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office Fugitive Unit successfully apprehended a fugitive wanted for an August 14th murder by authorities in Cook County, Illinois on Sunday, 08/30/14.

Deputies were quick to follow up on a lead that 19 year old Devon Stidwell was at the Extended Stay of America at 3390 Venture Parkway in Duluth.  As they arrived at the location, deputies observed Stidwell and an acquaintance leaving the parking lot by vehicle.

Responding Gwinnett County Police officers, already in the area at the request of deputies, conducted a felony stop of the vehicle and Stidwell was arrested.  The driver of the vehicle, 23 year old Stacy Hall, was discovered to have an outstanding probation violation warrant in Gwinnett County and was placed under arrest.  He was also charged with Giving False Name or Information.

Devon Stidwell and Stacy Hall were transported to the Gwinnett County Jail, where they are being held with no bond.
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August 21, 2014

Fugitive Arrest

August 21,  2014

For Immediate Release:

A joint effort between the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office, US Marshal Fugitive Task Force, the Gwinnett Metro Drug Task Force and Georgia State Patrol led to the apprehension of a fugitive hiding out at the Hampton Inn on Riverside Parkway in Lawrenceville.

As law enforcement officers approached the location, 41 year old James Staples of Tucker, Georgia, entered a vehicle and fled.  A vehicle chase ensued, ending on Oakland Road near Plantation Court in Lawrenceville after sheriff’s deputies safely performed the Precision Immobilization Technique (P.I.T. maneuver).

Once stopped, Staples attempted to flee on foot, but was quickly apprehended by sheriff’s deputies.  Staples was wanted on numerous outstanding warrants:

(2) counts Theft by Receiving Stolen Property
VCGSA Possession of methamphetamine
Driving – open container
Obstruction
Fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer
Driving on a divided highway
State Court Bench Warrant

Additional charges are forthcoming.  Staples was transported to the Gwinnett County Jail without further incident.  No injuries were reported during the incident.
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August 11, 2014

Phone Scam Alert

August 11, 2014

For immediate release:

Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office investigators met with the most recent victims of phone scammers today.  The four victims, unrelated to one another, each contacted our office on Sunday to make a report and agreed to meet with Sheriff’s investigators this morning.

Each of the victims, all women, advised that she received a phone call from someone identifying himself as “Lt. Pierson” from the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office Warrants Division.  Each victim was informed that she had an outstanding warrant for failure to appear for a jury summons and that to avoid arrest, she can pay the associated fine using a pre-paid debit card.  Three of the victims followed the caller’s instructions and purchased Green Dot MoneyPak cards as instructed in the amounts of $525.00, $810.00 and $962.00.  The fourth victim did not purchase a Green Dot MoneyPak.

The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office has received a dozen similar reports over the past two weeks.  The phone scammers often impersonate individuals who are actually employed by the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office.  Similar phone scams have been reported throughout several Georgia and out of state jurisdictions, some with slight variations, such as the caller claiming that the victim has not paid an outstanding traffic or parking ticket and can avoid arrest by paying associated fines over the phone.

The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office continues to actively investigate these cases and warns the public to be wary of these callers, who are extremely convincing and have extensive knowledge of the local agency that they are impersonating.  It is critical that citizens are aware that no law enforcement agency will ever solicit payment of fines over the telephone, especially with the use of pre-paid debit cards.  Any caller making such a request should be considered suspicious.  Citizens are encouraged to report all phone calls of this nature to their local law enforcement agency.

If you have received a phone call of this nature, please contact the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office Investigative Services Division at 770-619-6655.

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July 17, 2014

Velasquez Arrest

July 16, 2014

For immediate release:

A joint effort by the US Marshals SE Regional Fugitive Task Force and the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office has resulted in the apprehension of 23 year old fugitive Alejandro Velasquez. Velasquez has been on the run since November 2013, wanted on outstanding warrants for Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Aggravated Battery by Disfiguring, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon and Participation in Criminal Gang Activity.

The task force developed information that Velasquez was inside a home at 2652 Herndon Road in Lawrenceville today and responded to the location to attempt warrant service. Upon their arrival, they searched the residence and located Velasquez hiding in the attic. Velazquez obeyed verbal commands to climb down from the attic and was taken into custody without incident.

Velasquez was transported to the Gwinnett County Jail, where he is being held without bond.
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