2017-07-06 / Front Page

Burglaries at pawn shop connected to street gang

editor and publisher

Four young men, one a juvenile, have been arrested and charged with a series of incidents and burglaries at The Company Store which began early Saturday morning, June 17, around 12:30 a.m. In the end, a total of 11 guns, three long guns and eight hand guns, were taken and only two of those have been recovered as of this reporting.

Jaylan Maddox, Dorian Welborn, and Tavaris Joquez Ramsey, all 17 years of age, were charged with two counts of burglary in the second degree and with possession of a firearm while committing a crime. Ramsey was also charged with participating in criminal gang activity and is being held without bond pending a bond hearing in Superior Court. Maddox and Welborn were released June 28 and 27, respectively, on $25,200 bond each, and the juvenile’s case will be handled separately in juvenile court.

“This is affiliated or connected to a street gang that we’ve been having trouble with here in Wilkes County called the MTO gang,” lead Investigator Thomas Bailey said. “We’ve been told that stands for Money Team Only. So it’s been hard trying to get information against these people because a lot of people are afraid of them for various reasons.”

The string of incidents began when an alarm call was received early on Saturday, June 17, and several deputies and Bailey responded. “No entry was made on that occasion,” Bailey explained, “but a person or persons unknown went up there then actually shot out the front door of the pawn shop. They actually shot a bullet through the glass door.”

However, the bullet did not shatter the special glass in the door and it was evident that perpetrators then tried to kick out the glass without success. That was apparently when the alarm went off and they left. “There was no entry made at that time,” Bailey confirmed. Sometime after that on Saturday morning, store owner Mark Walker covered the door with a sheet of plywood.

Next, on Monday morning, June 19, at about 8:15, the Wilkes County 911 received a call from someone who noticed that some of the plywood was missing from the front door.

“Essentially, the full sheet of plywood had been broken in half and the bottom half was laying out in the parking lot,” Bailey said. Entry into the story had been made.

“Inside the store, several glass display cases had been smashed, and several firearms had been taken, but we didn’t know how many at that point,” Bailey explained. Surveillance video was examined and revealed a good bit of information about the burglary.

The video showed that there had actually been two separate entries into the store, the first at around 3:30 a.m. on June 19. Three individuals were shown on the videos which were taken from multiple angles, “not just the one on Facebook,” according to Bailey. The perpetrators were similarly dressed in light-colored clothing and hoodies with hoods over their faces, and at least two of them appeared to be wearing masks. All three were wearing gloves.

One of the three held the plywood up so the other two could enter the store. On that occasion they took three long guns, two AR-15-type assault rifles and a 12-gauge shotgun. In a minute or less, they left the store.

“They returned about an hour later,” Bailey reported, “and entered the store using the same scenario, one outside and two inside. On that occasion, one of the individuals inside the store was carrying some type of bookbag. They removed a hammer from the bookbag and you could see them smashing the tops of several display cases. They continued to take several hand guns and then hurriedly left the store.”

It was apparent to Bailey that upon exit, the perpetrators came in contact with the plywood on the door, bending it up so that it broke in half.

Beginning the following Monday, Bailey and his team began developing information by talking to people and informants.

“Then, on June 22, we received a call from a concerned citizen in the Tignall area who had found a bookbag containing hand guns,” Bailey said. The bag was abandoned on the side of the road in an unpopulated area near the edge of the wood line. “Inside the bag were two handguns and a box of ammunition,” Bailey added.

“One of those hand guns came from The Company Store but as of this date, we do not know where the other one came from,” Bailey said.

After further investigation, two search warrants were executed in Tignall where additional evidence was recovered.

“Basically, through interviewing people and through other information that we obtained, we knew there was a total of four suspects,” Bailey explained. “One was the driver, one was outside the door, and the two inside the store.”

Still missing are the two AR-15-type assault rifles and seven handguns. “At this point, we don’t know where those guns are,” Bailey said. “We are looking for as much information as we can get from the public. Anyone who might have any knowledge could help us. We’d love to get those guns off the street.”

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