Fayetteville officer prevents burglary

Tue, 07/17/2007 - 3:55pm
By: John Munford

Fayetteville police arrested three men early Thursday morning after an officer spotted them acting strangely in the parking lot of the Jiffy Lube.

One of the suspects admitted they were in the area casing out places to steal copper wiring, said Lt. Beverly Trainor. Their car also had a significant number of burglary tools inside, Trainor noted.

Officer Warren Hartley spotted the three as they pulled into the Jiffy Lube on north Glynn Street at 2:20 a.m. They were acting strangely and Hartley pulled into the parking lot — later joined by backup officers — and questioned the suspects, Trainor said.

At first none of the suspects’ stories matched up as to what they were doing, and Hartley noticed several signs of drug use, including dilated pupils and a slow response to light, Trainor said. One of the suspects admitted to being high on meth at the time, she added.

The suspects were identified as Rodney Evans Lankford, 37, of Hosanah Road, Locust Grove; Andrew David Bedingfield, 43, of Fitzgerald Road, Jonesboro; and Michael Leonard Madaris, 39, of High Falls Road, Griffin. All three were charged with conspiracy to commit burglary, possession of burglary tools and loitering, police said. Madaris, the driver, was also charged with possession of dangerous drugs and two traffic offenses.

Police think the three may be responsible for other copper thefts that have been reported throughout the metro Atlanta area, Trainor said.

Hartley received a letter of commendation from Police Chief Steven Heaton for his actions in the investigation, particularly for using his interview skills to determine what happened.

Hartley, an officer with Fayetteville since 2001, spotted the suspects’ activity while he was parked with his patrol car’s lights off at the former Shell station just south of Jiffy Lube, Trainor said.

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