Athens Review, Athens, Texas

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September 29, 2006

‘Sledgehammer burglars’ busted

Numerous businesses in Athens, area had been hit over last 3 years

For over three years, an adept crew of burglars had perfected the craft of breaking into local businesses.

The crew used sledgehammers or other blunt objects to smash through an outside wall of a business. Before entering, the burglars were careful to make sure they had disarmed the alarm system.

They took their time once inside, and upon leaving, were careful to clean up after themselves so as not to draw attention from police who might happen to come by on patrol. The more time it took for police to find out about the crime, the further away the crew could move from the scene.

The burglaries — at least nine of them in Athens — were far from what police call “smash-and-grab” jobs. This crew was patient, precise, meticulous. And elusive — until now.

Police say the crew they have known informally as the “Sledgehammer burglars,” is behind bars.

“These cases never were put in the cold case file and left,” Athens Police Detective Sgt. Charles Gurley said Thursday. “We kept them active. ... This sends a message to the outlaws that if you do the crime, sooner or later we’re going to get you.”

Arrested in connection to the series of burglaries was: Micah J. Dewberry, 28; Davis W. Paris, 41; and Aisha Dew, 22. Dewberry and Paris are accused by police of carrying out the most recent burglaries. Dew, police say, was their “get-away” driver. All are charged with burglary of a building, and other charges are pending.

The trio, along with a fourth man, Michael Hogg, 27, are believed to have burglarized nine businesses over the last three years. Four were restaurants: Felipe’s Mexican Food, Papadale’s Grill, Jalisco and Julio’s Chicken. Additionally, Sierra Auto Sales, La Mexicana store, O’Reilly’s Auto Parts and Check ‘n Go were also hit.

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