Originally created 08/20/04

Police chief's kin is arrested



ATHENS, Ga. - An investigation into a series of armed robberies has led to the arrest of a child in the Athens police chief's family.

The unidentified child surrendered to GBI agents and is charged with stealing a service weapon issued to the chief and another gun he owned personally. Both were reported stolen from his home after the string of robberies was ended with other arrests.

Athens-Clarke County Police Chief Jack Lumpkin held a news conference Wednesday to explain why he asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to handle the case so that he wouldn't be involved.

Chief Lumpkin - father of two adult children and a daughter who is younger than 18 - would not say which of his family members is accused of stealing his guns.

"I now request the understanding of the community as my family deals with this situation as it moves through the juvenile court system," he said. "While I seek no special consideration as police chief, I do ask for humanistic understanding in these challenging times."

Chief Lumpkin had asked the GBI to investigate when he discovered the guns missing.

The GBI found out that one of the stolen guns , a .357 caliber service revolver, had been in an Athens-Clarke County evidence locker for three months.

It was found March 23 in the possession of 17-year-old Darius Pittard, who was arrested on gun possession charges and simple battery. One of the gun's six chambers had been fired.

Investigators did not learn that the revolver belonged to Chief Lumpkin until police began investigating a series of robberies that took place from December to May. Police said firearms might have been taken from Chief Lumpkin's house and used in the hold-ups. The GBI later concluded that neither of Chief Lumpkin's guns had been used to commit crimes.