FORT PAYNE, Ala. — DeKalb County Investigators, with the help of the East Metro Area Crime Center (EMACC), U.S. Marshalls, ATF, Bessemer Police Department, and the Birmingham Police Department have recently been able to file charges in a string of burglaries in DeKalb County as well as a robbery in Dawson. The investigation has uncovered burglaries in multiple Alabama counties, as well as Mississippi.
The investigation began on September 19th, 2019 at approximately 2 pm when a mother and daughter on County Road 49 (Dawson Community) came home to find two black males in a white Z71 Chevrolet Tahoe in the process of breaking into their home.
Both were tied up, and the thieves took electronics from the home before making a getaway. After about 30 minutes, they were able to free themselves and alerted a neighbor, who called the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office.
With the technological help of the EMACC, DeKalb Co. Investigators were able to determine that the perpetrators traveled back to Birmingham after the robbery. Surveillance photos of the suspects were obtained from a convenience store in the Birmingham area. The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office had entered into a partnership with the EMACC back in early summer, which is run by the Oxford Police Department and provides technology-based assistance to law enforcement agencies.
While the investigation was underway, several other burglaries occurred in Fort Payne, Dawson, Crossville, and Henagar that investigators and the EMACC were able to link to the original robbery.
In mid-December, while Investigators were still working the case, stolen firearms from these burglaries began to appear in Birmingham area pawn shops. Working with the Bessemer Police Department, DeKalb County Investigators were able to charge Jamicheal Billingsley (22 of Bessemer) on charges of Burglary 3rd Degree (x2), Theft of Property 1st Degree, and Theft of Property 2nd Degree. Billingsley is still being held in the DeKalb County Detention Center.
On January 3rd, DeKalb County Investigators conducted a search warrant with the Birmingham Police Department and ATF agents on Carver Avenue in the Grasselli Heights area of Birmingham.
At the residence, investigators found a large amount of stolen items from multiple Alabama counties. Several stolen firearms and jewelry were traced back to thefts in Cleburne, Marshall, Talladega, Lawrence, and Chilton Counties. One firearm had even been stolen from Meridian, Mississippi.
Electronics and other personal items found at the home were traced to DeKalb and Marshall County burglaries.
After conducting the search warrant, DeKalb County Investigators were able to obtain warrants of Burglary 2nd Degree, Burglary 3rd Degree, and Robbery 2nd Degree for Darius Hill (32 of Birmingham).
On Thursday, February 13th, agents with the U.S. Marshalls were able to capture Hill in Birmingham. He was transported to the DeKalb County Detention Center where he remains on a $50,000 cash bond.
Federal charges will be pending on Hill as the investigation continues. The suspect also has charges pending in Chilton, Talladega, Marshall, and Lawrence Counties.
More arrests are expected to follow as the investigation continues.
DeKalb County Sheriff Nick Welden said of the investigation: “This investigation required many hours of work by our investigators. They were relentless in pursuing these thieves, and kept pushing forward even when they came to dead ends. This should send a clear message to criminals that come to DeKalb County to commit crimes: You may get away, but we’ll never stop pursuing you until you’re back here in our jail.”
“These suspects were using our interstate system to commit burglaries in different areas of the state, which is something we’re seeing more and more of. Criminals have more technology at their fingertips than ever to help them do this, such as up-to-date maps on smart phones,” said Welden.
“It’s important as law enforcement that we evolve and use advances in technology to catch these criminals. That is where the EMACC comes in. Their data gathering and ability to help share information with other agencies were crucial in finding these suspects. The close cooperation with the ATF and Birmingham area agencies also aided greatly,” he said.
“God Bless!” Concluded Sheriff Welden.