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Bust on greenway
2 held in break-ins along trail
greenway break in 1 jd
Sheriff’s Deputy Ted Baxter talks with a woman who came back from a walk last month to find her car window smashed and her purse stolen. - photo by Submitted
Authorities have arrested two suspects in connection with a string of vehicle break-ins along the Big Creek Greenway.

Tashon Lamarr Crenshaw, 18, of Decatur and Willie Callins Jr., 26, of Lauderdale Lake, Fla., have each been charged with 16 counts of entering auto and five counts of theft of a financial transaction card.

Authorities said the suspects are being held at the Forsyth County Detention Center. Bond has not been set for Callins, while Crenshaw’s bond amount is $117,000.

The Forsyth County Sheriff’s deputies arrested the suspects Friday afternoon during a stakeout at the popular trail’s two parking lots off McFarland Road in south Forsyth.

Sheriff’s Lt. Col. Gene Moss said break-ins had been reported several times in the past two months at both areas of the trail, which opened last fall.

The arrests were made after authorities watched one of the suspects break the window of a parked vehicle and remove a purse.

“All of the property belonging to the victim whose vehicle was broken into was recovered from the back of the vehicle [the suspects] were driving,” said Sheriff’s Investigator Jason Soles.

He said evidence has linked the suspects to previous incidents at the same location.

Sheriff’s Lt. Duane Piper said the suspects passed up electronics and other valuables inside the vehicles, but helped themselves to identification and credit cards, checkbooks and cash.

“We continue to closely monitor all of the parking areas for parks and walking trails in the county,” Piper said.

Authorities said the suspects spent a significant amount of time in the parking lots, checking the vehicles and waiting for foot traffic to clear, before they would break in.

“The actual crime takes seconds,” Soles said.

Moss cautioned trail visitors against leaving valuables where they can be seen inside vehicles. Any suspicious activity, he said, should be reported.

Sheriff’s Capt. Ron Freeman, commander of the south precinct, said authorities watched the parking lot for several days before making an arrest.

“It was a good plan put together by the SOAR team and investigations,” Freeman said. “We did it without anybody getting into a car chase or anybody getting hurt.

"That’s always a concern, especially with south Forsyth being as congested as it is with traffic.”