Posted: Wednesday, July 16th 2014 at 4:14pm
Second suspect in church burglaries in custody
By Derreck Booth Editor
DAHLONEGA - A Lumpkin County man turned himself in to authorities Wednesday morning to face charges in connection with a string of burglaries in Lumpkin and Dawson counties.
Johnny Roque, 18, is charged with eight counts of burglary, believed to be the accomplice of another suspect arrested last weekend, according to the Lumpkin County Sheriff's Office.
The first suspect, Skyler Michaelson, 20, of Lumpkin County, was arrested in the case early Saturday morning in Dawson County. Michaelson is charged with ten counts of burglary in Lumpkin County, with additional charges pending in Dawson County.
Lumpkin County Sheriff's Lt. Wesley Burnett said the burglaries, including several churches, started on May 13. He said they involved ten locations, with one of them burglarized twice.
"The first couple of churches were (in) the early morning hours of May the 13th, and they have been periodic since then up until about a week ago was the last one," Burnett said.
The break in the case came Friday, when deputies from both the Lumpkin and Dawson County Sheriff's Offices set up an undercover sting operation at Georgia 400 and Highway 53 in Dawson County.
Authorities said they arranged to buy several stolen items from Michaelson. He allegedly posted them for sale on Craigslist. Before authorities made the buy, Michaelson took off in his vehicle.
Burnett said the Georgia State Patrol spotted Michaelson's vehicle several hours later and gave chase. Michaelson's vehicle left the road at Harmony Church Road near Nix Bridge Road in Dawson County. Burnett said Michaelson then took off on foot.
Authorities were able to reach Michaelson by phone, and he surrendered to Lumpkin County Sheriff Stacy Jarrard. Since Michaelson's arrest, Burnett said investigators identified Roque as the accomplice.
Burnett said the investigation is continuing.
"We do suspect at this point that we do have the individuals that are responsible for the burglaries."
Some of the stolen property was recovered, but Burnett said most of it was sold by the suspects.
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