"This is the room. They went in and out through that window," says Gladys Williams, as she shows Fox 54 around her King Ct. home in Waynesboro.
When Gladys and her son returned home from a doctor's appointment last month, they found a homeowner's nightmare- they had been robbed.
"[My son] came back out, and he said, 'The house is open! Somebody broke in!'" she remembers.
Gladys and her son are still trying to determine what all was taken.
It's a similar story for Mona Bryant, who lives just one street over. Burglars broke in through her window as well.
"Glass was all over everything in here," she says, pointing to her bedroom.
Taken were three of her most prized possessions: a Chinese coin given to her by her great-great-great grandfather, her daughter's class ring, and a Japanese alarm clock given to her as a birthday present from her daughter.
"I want the stuff my children bought for me. I want the stuff I bought for my children," she says. "You can't replace that. You can't."
Lt. Joe Nelson with the Waynesboro Police Department says Gladys and Mona are just two victims of a major burglary operation that targeted Waynesboro's Westgate community.
"At any given time, anybody could walk up to the ringleader of this crime spree, and basically order up merchandise," Lt. Nelson says. "They'd use juveniles to actually break in the houses and take these items."
Nelson says the burglars also pawned several items and vandalized houses and cars.
But they're glad to say it's an operation that's been busted.
Investigators arrested 19 year old Devante Sharpe, who they say was the leader of the crime ring.
Four other juveniles between the ages of 12-16 were also taken into custody.
Even after the arrest of the five suspects, investigators say there's still more work to be done.
They say there are more suspects to round up, including another adult male investigators believe to be in charge of the ring.
But, more importantly they say, Nelson wants to return the stolen property to the rightful owners.
"If they see something that maybe belongs to them, we're asking them to come forward and help us identify some of these items," he says.
For now though, Nelson says, this community and residents like Mona and Gladys can rest easier at night, knowing the group that he says has "terrorized" the neighborhood is behind bars.
Thursday, December 5 2013 2:44 AM EST2013-12-05 07:44:00 GMT
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