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SAVANNAH, GA (October 19, 2010): Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police are still piecing together details of a robbery ring that led to the high profile arrest of three Savannah men and tied together as many as 16 street robberies.

 The arrests of Derrick Middleton, 20, of the 900 block of Seiler Avenue, Kenya Parker, 22, of the 1500 block of Ott Street and Marvin Bryant Jr., 20, of the 2000 block of East 58th Street stemmed from the efforts of some 30 detectives and undercover officers who staked out portions of the community for five consecutive nights. Detectives are still investigating possibilities that others may have been involved in the crime ring and other crimes could have been included.

 The special task force was set up under the direction of SCMPD Robbery Detective Sgt. Laprentice Mayes after police recognized similarities in the incidents in various areas of the city and detected a steady increase in the brazenness of the suspects.

 “It was a great piece of police work and it showcased the synergy that develops when multiple sections of the department work together,” said Maj. Mark Gerbino, commander of the Criminal Investigations Division who assigned the special operations task force. “The team’s efforts were able to evolve from a reactive situation in which they simply took reports of a crime, to a proactive mode in which they anticipated where other, potentially more serious crimes would take place and they prevented those.”

 While Major Gerbino praised the work of Sgt. Mayes’ team, the sergeant credited the work of SARIC analyst Lisa Chisholm who compiled information including most frequent times of robberies, descriptions of the suspects, direction of travel and possible vehicles used. Armed with such information, the task force members saturated the anticipated crime areas and laid in wait.

“That was amazing,” Sgt. Mayes said. “She was able to pull together information that would have taken us days to compile and because of that we were able to concentrate our efforts in the areas and times that led us to the suspects.”

 Police technique delivered another break when Forensics Unit’s Star Cpl. Dennis Malott recovered evidence from a victim’s vehicle and Star Cpl. Mike Hendrix carefully examined it and processed it, identifying Bryant as the suspect.

  In most cases the robbers were described as a tall, thin man with a black gun and a shorter man with dreadlocks and a silver gun. Phrases used by the robbers in the various incidents were similar. The thieves took cell phones, cash, wallets or purses and cigarettes from their victims. Police intensified their efforts after a pizza delivery man who had been robbed reported one of the men fired at him when he tried to follow their getaway car.

 “It was clear to us that the crimes were escalating and we felt we needed to get in front of these men before someone received a serious injury or was killed,” said Maj. Gerbino.

 Detectives, Neighborhood Task Force officers, Tactical Reaction and Prevention team members met nightly with an analyst from the SCMPD Savannah Area Regional Intelligence Center before staking out the areas between Gaston and Park Avenue and 33rd and 42 Streets.

 Using that information, the Neighborhood Task Force arrested Parker and Middleton at 33rd and Ott Streets on Sept. 7. One of the guns described in the robberies was recovered.

 Police had suspected others had been involved in the robberies. The following afternoon a Neighborhood Task Force officer recognized Bryant in the front seat of a Red Dodge Charger. A multi-car pursuit followed the car to the 1300 block of 40th Street where Bryant and the other two occupants abandoned the car and ran to a vacant house on 39th Street which police immediately surrounded.

 Inside they found Bryant, the two suspects who were in the car with him and seven other men.  Bryant was arrested and the other men were questioned.   A search warrant was issued and drugs and weapons also were recovered from the house.

 Bryant had been identified by the special robbery detail as a potential participant in some robberies, but it was only after he was being questioned later that police realized the two strings of robberies were connected.

 Police also recovered two stolen vehicles being used in the robberies.

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