Police arrest six in string of burglaries

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Richmond County authorities think they have broken up a burglary ring that targeted homes in west and south Augusta neighborhoods to help fund a drug habit by the group's alleged mastermind.

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Aaron Strickland  Special
Aaron Strickland

Six people have been arrested. Richard Shane Strickland, 23, is charged with multiple counts of burglary along with his girlfriend, Jessica Renea Jackson, 20. Mr. Strickland's two brothers -- James Eric Strickland, 20, Aaron Keith Strickland, 18 -- and 27-year-old Michael Gustke, are each charged with two counts of theft by receiving.

Chad William McDaniel, 20, is charged with four counts of burglary, Richmond County sheriff's Sgt. Horace Anderson said.

The thefts possibly date back to September with up to 60 houses having been burglarized. The most recent burglaries occurred last week on Glendale Drive and Overton Road in west Augusta near the Augusta Country Club.

Most of the goods stolen were electronic components, weapons and jewelry. Sgt. Horace Anderson said the jewelry thefts alone could amount to as much as $80,000.

Police originally arrested Mr. Strickland and Ms. Jackson on Friday and charged them each with multiple counts of burglary.

On Monday, Sgt. Anderson said Mr. Strickland was the primary perpetrator and "mastermind." He said Mr. Strickland would canvas "upscale" west and south Augusta neighborhoods and knock on doors to see if anyone was home.

"He'd do this in the middle of the afternoon," Sgt. Anderson said. "Often, when people were at work or school.

If no one answered, Mr. Strickland told police he'd kick-in the rear doors or break rear windows to get in and quickly snatch the items.

Ms. Jackson's role was the driver who would take Mr. Strickland to crime scenes -- until her car broke down, Sgt. Anderson said.

"Shane (Mr. Strickland) even used taxicabs to drop himself off," Sgt. Anderson said.

Although the other men didn't take property, Sgt. Anderson said "they all knew what was going on and may have benefitted from the money."

Many of the stolen items were stored at Madison on the Green apartments, where Mr. Strickland's brothers live with Mr. Gustke.

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office has joined the investigation and is currently questioning a Martinez jewelry shop owner about purchasing some of the property. Some of the stolen items were discovered at Augusta Coin Exchange, 4015 Washington Road, Sgt. Anderson said.

Sheriff's Maj. Ken Autry said authorities are investigating and cataloging the recovered goods. "The property is here and we're looking at getting it into the hands of its rightful owners," he said.

Reach Timothy Cox at (706) 823-3217 or tim.cox@augustachronicle.com.

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iwasinvoled 04/19/08 - 11:10 pm
Wow it is amazing to see all

Wow it is amazing to see all the people that just believe one side of the story but thats common no surprise there.Well to let everyone know that may read this i am james strickland i was arrested along with my roommate and my lil brother that didnt even live there.Let me get it right for all you idiots thats believe everything u hear only 1 person was charged for burglary and the rest with theft by receiving which was thrown out when we went to court because the oh so great RICHMOND COUNTY AUTHORITIES had nothing on us because no one did anything wrong.And this whole thing about it to support a drug habbit is bull.So get the facts before you open your mouth......

iwasinvoled 04/19/08 - 11:22 pm
And again for the ones who

And again for the ones who say that we should get the death penalty.You act like you've never stoled anything i dont care if it was a piece of gum stealing is stealing any way you look at it.So all you people that think that we are idiots can go to you know where.And all to you who say you are christians and what not what does the bible say about judgement?God can forgive my brother so why cant you?And for the ones that have dogs they didnt do any good dogs love to eat thats all i'm saying.AND THIS PERSON FRAN I TAKE IT THAT YOUR A TEACHER WELL I WOULD LIKE TO TALK TO YOU MY EMAIL ADDRESS IS loose198720@yahoo.com my name is james strickland if you didnt already know

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