Posts on Jan 1970

Shopper Safety

The day after Thanksgiving is traditionally one of the most busy shopping days of the year, starting early in the morning and finishing late into the evening.  Shoppers aren't the only people looking for a "steal of a deal" on "Black Friday", though.  Crowded shopping centers and packed parking lots can also add up to an opportunity for thieves.

But, there are some simple things you can do when you're shopping to keep yourself and your new belongings safer:

  • Have your keys in hand when you leave the store: This is a good idea all the time, not just when shopping.  Standing in a parking lot fumbling around for keys makes an easier opportunity for carjackers or ssomeone who simply wants to steal your bags.
  • Never leave your purse, wallet, or other attractive items in your car: Even if you're just making a quick trip, all a thief has to do is break out a window to get his/her hands on your money, credit cards, etc.
  • Put all packages in the trunk or out of sight: Nobody wants to carry their packages around the mall all day long, but it's important to make sure nobody can see your packages in your car.  So, store them in the trunk.  Or, if you don't have a trunk, make sure they're covered so they won't tempt the wandering eyes of a thief.
  • Lock all doors and secure all windows: Again, it's a good idea year-round. 
  • Be aware of your surroundings: It's easy to get distracted when you're in a hurry, but it's important to stay aware of your surroundings.  Keep an eye out for suspicious individuals, especially if you see them in more than one location.
  • Always use the ATM at a well-lit, indoor location: Make sure to look around before entering your code, to ensure nobody's watching to try to steal your PIN.
  • Keep an eye on your kids: Especially with younger children, it's not a good idea to let them wander the stores alone or go to public restrooms by themselves while you shop.
  • Drop off packages at your car: While making sure to keep them out of sight in your car, it's a good idea to drop off some of your bags as you shop.  This way, you don't have to worry about keeping an eye on your bags to make sure nobody walks off with one.  And, you're not weighed down with different packages, so your hands are free for your personal protection.
  • If possible, don't shop alone:  Especially at night, the "buddy system" can often keep potential trouble away.
  • Tuck away your purse, or put your wallet in your front pockets: Crowded shopping areas are opportunities for purse snatchers or pick-pockets.  So, make sure you've got a grip on your purse under your arm.  Or, if you carry a wallet, it's a good idea to keep it in a front pocket where you've got a better chance of seeing or feeling someone trying to pick your pockets.

Most of these tips are common sense ideas, but it's important to not allow yourself to get distracted by holiday stress or big crowds as you shop.  The Dalton Police Department wishes everyone a happy and safe holiday season.

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Dalton Police Arrest “Chicken Foot” Burglar

At the beginning of the month, the Dalton Police Department arrested Ricardo Alexander Velasco-Rivera of Cleveland, Tennessee in connection to a string of burglaries in Dalton, including the October 22nd “chicken foot” burglary on Showalter Avenue.  In that incident, Velasco-Rivera threw a bag of chicken parts into the backyard of the residence to distract a barking dog.  After tracing the bag back to a Mini-Super Store, Dalton detectives were able to obtain a surveillance image of the man who purchased the chicken parts, which was released to the media.

Dalton detectives were able to track down Velasco-Rivera by tracking unusual pawn activity in a Dalton gold and jewelry pawn shop.  Detectives traced this activity back to Velasco-Rivera and arrested him on October 31st.  Since that date, detectives have linked Velasco-Rivera to ten burglaries in Dalton and also recovered nearly $10,000 in stolen jewelry which was returned to the rightful owners.  Velasco-Rivera may also be responsible for additional burglaries in the area.

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Report of Armed Robbery Was a Hoax

The armed robbery reported November 7th at the North Georgia Cellular (AT&T Wireless) store at 1231 Cleveland Highway was a hoax.  After an investigation, the employee found tied up in the store confessed to staging the crime.  She was arrested after turning herself in on Friday.

On November 7th around 9:00 am, Dalton police officers responded to a report of an armed robbery at the North Georgia Cellular store.  20-year-old Ashley Joubert was found tied up, and told officers that three Hispanic males had robbed the store.  However, after Dalton Police investigated the crime scene, checked video evidence from surrounding stores’ surveillance cameras, and interviewed Joubert, she confessed to stealing money from the store and staging the scene herself.

Joubert is being charged with making false statements, making a false report of a crime, and theft by taking.

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Police Seek Information on Purse Snatchers

The Dalton Police Department is seeking information on suspects who stole a woman’s purse on October 28th at Walnut Square Mall.  They used credit cards from the purse later that night at the Wal-Mart on East Walnut Avenue.

Around 7:30 PM on October 28th, the female victim was walking out of the JC Penny store at Walnut Square when two males came up from behind her.  One grabbed her purse from her arm, and they both ran away to the west toward Betty Street.  The suspects were both described as white males, one wearing a dark jacket and the other wearing a light jacket.  Later that evening, at approximately 9:30 PM, the credit card was used to make purchases at the Wal-Mart.  The five individuals pictured below were together in the store on surveillance cameras, however, they left the store in separate groups.  The individual in the red shirt made the actual purchase.  While all are not necessarily suspects, it is believed that they do know each other.

If you have any information on this crime, or the identity of any of the individuals pictured below, please contact detective John Helton with the Dalton Police Department, 706-278-9085, extension 143.

Sudden Snatch 1 Sudden Snatch 2   Sudden Snatch 3

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Dalton Police Seek Suspect in Debit Card Fraud

The Dalton Police Department is seeking information on a woman who has used stolen debit cards to purchase between $1,000 and $2,000 worth of merchandise in stores in Whitfield and Murray Counties.  The cards, which were most likely stolen from their owners’ cars, were used on November 15th and 16th.

The image below was captured by the surveillance system at the CVS Pharmacy in Chatsworth, one of the locations where the cards were used.  The suspect is a black female, with long hair, wearing a pink shirt and gray jacket.

Anyone with information on this crime is asked to contact Detective Greg Bates with the Dalton Police Department at 706-278-9085, extension 137.


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Dalton Police Seek Larceny Suspect

The Dalton Police Department is looking for information about a suspect who ripped off $120 from a clerk at the Quality Inn on College Drive.

On November 17th, the black male pictured below from a surveillance camera approached the desk clerk at the hotel asking for change for the vending machine.  The suspect gave the clerk a $20.00 bill.  After getting his change, he began to ask for different denominations, keeping the clerk talking and not letting her put the money back in the drawer before he asked for a different denomination.  Keeping the clerk confused, the suspect eventually worked his way up to a $100.00 bill in the drawer, and instead took a pair of $50.00 bills.  The suspect left with $120.00. 

The suspect is a black male, who appears to be in his 40’s or 50’s, wearing a black leather jacket.  The images below were captured by the hotel surveillance system.  If you have any information about this crime, or the identity of the suspect, please contact Detective Matthew Locke at 706-278-9085, extension 320.

Suspect 1 Suspect 2   

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Dalton Police Break Up Counterfeit Document Operation

The Dalton Police Department, in cooperation with the FBI’s Conasauga Safe Streets Task Force, broke up a counterfeit document operation Wednesday night, arresting Byron Paz-Gonzales after a lengthy investigation.  Gonzales, of 3741 Doris Drive in Chattanooga, Tennessee, sold fake social security cards and fake resident alien cards (green cards) to agents of the Dalton Police Department during the investigation.

Mr. Gonzales is charged with 12 counts of first degree forgery, 12 counts of identity fraud, and 12 counts of manufacturing counterfeit documents.  His brother, Uwe Gonzales, was also arrested Wednesday night, charged with being party to a crime, one count of first degree forgery, and one count of identity fraud.

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Get Your Car Ready for Cold Weather

The Dalton Police Department would like to remind motorist to prepare their motor vehicles before inclement weather hits the Dalton area.  There are several important things that need to be checked on your vehicles and several things that should be carried in your vehicles in case you become stranded.

The following is a quick checklist of things that should be checked to ensure they are in good operating condition on your vehicles before cold weather hits.

  • Have the car battery tested.
  • Have the antifreeze level and effectiveness at sub-freezing temperatures checked.
  • Make sure the windshield wipers are in good condition.
  • Check the windshield washer fluid and fill if needed with windshield washer fluid (not water).
  • Make sure all lights are working correctly, including flashing hazard lights.
  • Have the brakes inspected.
  • Have the tire tread checked.
  • Make sure the inside heater and defrost is in proper working condition.

Motorists should also keep the following items in their vehicles when traveling in inclement weather, not matter how short a distance they may be traveling.

  • Flashlight/extra batteries
  • Blanket
  • Extra cap and gloves/mittens
  • Rain Gear
  • Small tool kit and booster cables
  • Small bag of kitty litter
  • Bottled water and snack foods/power bars
  • Brightly colored cloth

The Dalton Police Department would also like to remind motorists of some driving tips during inclement weather.  During inclement weather motorists should limit travel to essential travel only.  Leave early and expect there to be driving delays and avoid lightly traveled roads.  Motorist should slow down on wet or slick roads due to rain and snow, driving much slower than the posted speed limit.  Avoid quick accelerations, hard braking and quick turns or lane changes.

If you become stranded, you should stay with your vehicle as long as possible.  During the day, you can hang a bright colored rag or cloth on the antenna of your car and at night turn the flashing hazard lights on to signal that you are in distress.  If possible, run the engine and heat for short periods of time to provide warmth.

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Another Phone Scam Alert

From Whitfield County Emergency Services:

The Whitfield County Emergency Services Department is warning the public about a new phone scam being reported by businesses in Dalton and Whitfield County. 

Fraudulent calls are apparently being made under the name of City Magnets, Inc.  The caller is posing as the “911 Coordinator” and attempting to sell ad space for magnets.  After speaking with the owner of City Magnets, Inc., we have found out that they have no salesmen in this area and would not be conducting business in this matter.

If you receive any calls of this nature, DO NOT give out any financial information to this individual and report it to the Georgia Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs via or by calling 1-800-869-1123. 

Please be assured that Whitfield County Emergency Services would never be soliciting funds in this manner.

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Good Luck, Chief Gober

Today is the last day on the job for Dalton Fire Chief Barry Gober.  After 30 years of service to the city of Dalton, he is hanging up his helmet and taking off his boots for the last time.

This afternoon several police officers joined a large group of firefighters, city officials, friends and family at a ceremony in the Engine Room at Fire Station #1.  The fact that such a large cross-section of Dalton’s public safety personnel says a lot about Chief Gober’s reputation in the community.

Chief Gober received a standing ovation after his remarks to the group, which included several stories from his time as a young firefighter in Dalton.  The Dalton Police Department wishes him good luck in the future, and thanks him for his service.

Below: A crowd gathered at Dalton Fire Station #1 for Chief Gober’s retirement celebration (click thumbnails for a larger version of the image)


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