Suspicious Person on East Lake

This morning around 9.50a, [Friday, December 12, 2014], a guy rang our door bell. (We live on East Lake near the RR.)  He said he had a mobile car wash and detailing service and was offering to clean our cars. I declined and he left.

I thought it was odd because (a) he wasn’t dressed professionally, (b) he had some really badly copied small flyers for his business to hand out, (c) he was driving a small car which hardly has enough space for detailing and cleaning supplies.

I called 911 and an officer came out. He said no one else had reported this person yet but that it was good to let them know. [Note from the East Lake Crime Watch team: the police have advised the neighborhood to call 911 when someone shows up at your door and, from what he’s saying, things simply don’t add up. Burglars are often casing houses, especially at this time of year.]

In case any other neighbors see him around or at their door, here’s his description. Black male, early 40s, pronounced gap between front teeth. He was wearing a baseball cap, a royal blue track jacket and blue jeans with a large tear at the right knee. He was driving a late model ruby red metallic Nissan Versa.

CSX Traffic on the Park Line To Increase Next Week

CSX has reported that it will be making a major repair to its main line across the top of Atlanta next week, from Monday, December 8, 2014, through Thursday, December 11. This will throw extra train traffic on the Park Line (which crosses East lake and DeKalb) those four days. On Friday, things should be back to normal.

Burglary Follow-Up From Sgt. Germano

To address the policy in regards to forensic evidence at the scene of a burglary (home break in) or entering auto crimes.  DeKalb Police gather all evidence at a scene that is known.  There is no need to call in “Forensic People” because the first responding officer is technically an evidence collector.  The responding officer assesses the scene for evidence and may call on detectives to respond if necessary.  Detectives will respond to collect blood and finger print evidence if visible.  We make many cases from collecting blood evidence and matching it to known offenders.  We have been very successful in identifying offenders through blood evidence on entering autos as well.  DeKalb County does have an Crime Scene Unit (CSU) that is specially trained to process scenes.  The CSU primarily will respond to murders, rapes, and armed robberies.  Any evidence left on the scene can be collected by any number of responders uniform police, detectives and CSU personnel.  In summation, all known evidence will be collected.  I hope this clears up any confusion about our policy.


Respectfully  yours

Sgt. J. Germano #1746

Dekalb County Police Dept.

Criminal Investigation Unit

A Q&A on the Recent Burglaries in the East Lake Rd. Neighborhood

 The information below can also be found in this PDF, which may make it easier for printing and sharing:  Q&A on the Recent Burglaries (.pdf).

Where were the burglaries and when did they occur?

The five burglaries in the East Lake neighborhood took place November 27 – 29. One house, in the cul de sac of Ponce Manor, was burglarized when the owners were away. A door was kicked in.

Thefts occurred in detached buildings (garage, shed) at two houses on East Lake, between Ridgecrest and Ponce, on the odd side.

Another house on that block, same side, was burglarized sometime in the early morning while the residents were asleep upstairs. It’s uncertain how entry was made.

Finally, a house on Ridgecrest, close to Ponce, was burglarized while the residents were asleep upstairs. The back door was kicked in.

What about car break-ins?

Cars at some of these burglary locations were gone through and items were taken. Cars on Ponce Manor were entered and items were stolen. We still don’t know how many cars were entered, how many windows were broken to get in, how many things were taken.

What are the police doing?

The entire DeKalb Police Department command staff is aware of what happened. North Central precinct (our precinct) has increased patrols in the neighborhood, and they’ll stay at that level through December.

Capt. Padrick of the precinct added:

On November 29, 2014 Officers observed a stolen vehicle on Candler Road and were able to apprehend two suspects in that vehicle.  Our Investigations Unit conducted follow-up investigation and discovered that items belonging to the victim of one of the burglaries on East Lake was located inside the stolen vehicle.  The driver of the vehicle has been charged with reckless driving, fleeing/attempting to allude, burglary and theft by receiving stolen automobile.  It is believed that these suspects are responsible for the additional burglaries.  Detectives will continue to investigate these burglaries and the suspects in this case in order to make appropriate additional charges.  An additional stolen vehicle was recovered on November 29, 2014 and is believed to be related to burglaries in the East Lake area. [The vehicle, a minivan, was stolen on Ponce Manor.]

The police feel there’s a good chance they’ve caught the primary burglary suspect for all these burglaries. He’s sitting in the DeKalb jail now. Detectives will continue to work on these cases to fully tie this suspect, and possibly others, to these five burglaries, car break-ins, and car theft.

The neighborhood website didn’t post anything until Sunday, November 30? The burglaries began on Thanksgiving, the 27th, and continued through Saturday, the 29th. How quickly are postings made?

The website posts news when it’s received. News of the burglaries came in Sunday, the 30th.

When something bad happens at someone’s home, the police should be called, of course. But it would be greatly helpful to the entire neighborhood—and to those who live nearby and subscribe to the site—if information was sent to the site shortly after the call to the police. It then goes out to everyone signed up for the website.

To get an item posted on the website: go to, find the heading on the right side of the home page “Send An Item to Post,” and follow the brief instructions. Nan Brinson will get the item, review it, and post it.

By the way, if you suspect your neighbor is not signed up for the website, ask him or her to go to the website right now and click on “Subscription” at the top.

Also, to leave a comment on the website, or read comments by your neighbors, go to the site, find the relevant posting, and leave—or read—comments at the bottom of the page.

How should the police be contacted if I see a suspicious person; if my house has been burglarized; if a detached building on my property has been burglarized; if my car has been entered (with or without a smashed window); or if a stray dog is on the loose in the neighborhood?

Suspicious persons, house burglary, detached building burglary:   Call 911.   An officer will respond, investigate, and file a report.

Car break-in:   Call 770.724.7600.   An emergency operator will answer. Tell her it’s a non-emergency and that you want to simply file a report by phone. You’ll be transferred to a department called Screening. (Patrol officers generally don’t come out for car break-ins, although you can insist on having one do so. You might have to wait a while.)

Stray dog on the loose:   Call 404.294.2996

To get a police report for a burglary, car break-in, accident:   Call 770.724.7740

You cannot make a report by phone for a house or detached building burglary. An officer must come out and make a report.

Making a report for even a car break-in is important for getting the police resources we need to make the neighborhood safe. Not making a report when something bad has happened causes the neighborhood, in the eyes of the police (and county commissioners), to appear safer than it actually is.

Do the DeKalb police make vacation checks?

Yes. Call 770.724.7600. An emergency operator will answer. Tell the operator there’s no emergency, and then tell her you want to be transferred to Screening to have an officer fill out a POAP form. That’s “patrol as often as possible.” Give your information to the officer, and the police will patrol your house while you’re gone.

 What is the current forensics policy in the DeKalb Police Department when it comes to house burglaries?

The policy is not absolutely solid. To some extent it’s up to the responding officer to call in the forensic people. If not much is stolen from a house, he may skip doing this.

When there’s significant financial loss, injury, or worse, then a forensic team will show up. (There’s a threshold on the financial loss, but it’s not known what that is at this time.)

You can insist on an investigation, but it could take a while. If the officer refuses to call a forensic team, and you insist on an investigation by one, ask the officer for the name and number of his supervisor. Or after the officer leaves—and you should have his name and badge number before he does—call 911 and explain that you’re trying to reach the officer’s supervisor.

What can neighbors do to drive down the risk of burglary, beyond checking the door locks and finessing the alarm system?

The police tell us over and over: if you see a suspicious person in the neighborhood, or a vehicle that appears suspicious, call 911. If someone comes to your door and you find yourself sensing that something is wrong with whatever he’s saying, call 911. If someone seems to be checking out your neighbor’s house, call 911.

Watch out for your neighbor, especially at this time of year. If you’re traveling, be sure someone’s checking on your house, and knows about your alarm system and how to reach you.

Check out websites with advice on how to burglar-proof your home, like this one:

What’s the deal with the Druid Hills Patrol?

Here’s a new deal from David Martin, the president of the private, not-for-profit Druid Hills Patrol (

If 40% of households on a street sign up for DHP, the rate for the patrol’s services is $300/household/year. If 50% sign up, the rate will drop to $200. We need a volunteer to accurately assess the interest in the neighborhood. It would be helpful if that person could then rely on one person on each street in the neighborhood who would assess the interest on his or her street. If you’re interested in being the general volunteer, send an e-mail to Bob Ballou at

What’s going on with the lighting on Ridgecrest? And what about lighting for Ponce Manor?

Anne Wallace, the Divison 2 chair, said in a post to the website today, December 2, 2014:

On October 22, 2013 at our DHCA Division 2 Neighborhood Meeting GENE ANSLEY gave a very thorough mathematical report on the process and costs for getting STREET LIGHTS ON RIDGECREST RD.  The next step was to get a petition with signatures from residents willing to fund this project.  There was not enough interest to move forward.  If anyone wants to take up this effort again, I suggest you contact Gene for direction. Go to the East Lake website, click on About Us, and find Gene’s contact information.

It’s worth noting that, even today, there are Ridgecrest residents who favor lighting and are willing to pay their fair share of costs, and there are others who are opposed to lighting—and not just for economic reasons. Gene Ansley has done a lot of good work on this issue over the past few years, and he’s surely willing to talk with anyone on Ridgecrest about it.

As for lighting on Ponce Manor, Dena Cohen is looking into things.

What exactly is the Neighborhood Crime Watch and how can I help?

The Neighborhood Watch essentially comprises four parts: the neighborhood website, which is used for immediate notification of criminal incidents; the annual Neighborhood Crime Watch meeting, which is part of the regular annual neighborhood meeting organized by the Division 2 chair; neighborhood leaders who are in regular touch with DeKalb patrol officers and police commanders; and the vigilance of every resident of the neighborhood.

By the way “the neighborhood” is all of Division 2 of Druid Hills, both sides of Ponce de Leon.

We could use help with leadership. Interested? Send an e-mail to Bob Ballou at

Road Makeover Update – ACTION REQUIRED!


This is an update AND a notice for action required by each homeowner – please read!

As the road makeover project is coming to a close, some fellow neighbors and I met with GDOT to discuss some quality issues and what to expect for the remainder of the project. Here is a quick update and one very important action required by everyone:

· Paving is completed

· Curb installation should be complete – please contact me if there are any issues in front of your house

· The median at the RR crossing is currently being installed

· Sidewalk repair should be commencing soon (GDOT has added sidewalk repair to the project)

· The drainage system at the RR crossing has started

· Grading and sodding of the beauty strip will start after the sidewalks are complete (ACTION REQUIRED – see below)

· Striping is substantially complete, but we are trying to get some additional striping for a shoulder / edge line as there is not enough space for a full bike lane

· CW Matthews indicated they are targeting to complete the project by the end of the year, with the exception of sodding, which is weather / season dependent (they plan to sod with Bermuda grass).

ACTION REQUIRED – as many residents have landscaped the beauty strip in front of their home, GDOT prefers to err on the side of caution, i.e. their default position is to not grade and sod unless residents confirm they want them to. Please email me this week and let me know your name, house number and whether you want grading and / or sod. Whatever your choice, I would like you to confirm your preference with me so I know no houses are skipped unintentionally. I plan to submit the list of homes to GDOT by Monday or Tuesday of next week.

Quiet Zone Update – now that the medians are installed, once the Federal Rail Authority (FRA) updates their inventory to recognize the added safety measures, we will be applying to be classified as a quiet zone.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Best regards,

Mike Pascale


East Lake Burglaries During Thanksgiving Week

The Neighborhood Crime Watch is gathering information from neighbors and the police on at least five burglaries in the neighborhood at the end of the week of Thanksgiving. Also, we’re talking with the Druid Hills Patrol about a new offer from them for the neighborhood. We should be hearing from them by the end of today, December 2, 2014.

Look for a Q&A on the site by tomorrow afternoon, with details of the burglaries and the DHP offer.