CORNELIA - It took about two and one-half months, but Cornelia detectives have cleared up more than a dozen burglaries at eight different businesses in the city.
"We arrested five people [Wednesday] on 14 burglaries," said Cornelia Police Chief Rick Darby. "It's going to end up being multijurisdictional - we have 14, and we know Hall County/Gainesville is going to have several as well."
Those arrests in Habersham County were made late Wednesday. A fifth person charged in the crimes remains in the Hall County Jail facing charges there before being released to Cornelia authorities.
"This was good police work from all aspects of the department," said Lt. Kevin Marsteller, commander of Cornelia Police Department Criminal Investigations Division. "The patrol officers did very good patrolling, developing leads and suspects. The detectives in this work did an excellent job developing those leads and suspects into arrests."
Those arrested and who remain in the Habersham County Detention Center, according to Darby, include:
* Derek Hampton Hunnicutt of Cornelia - felony possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, 14 counts of burglary, 14 counts of wearing a mask during the commission of a crime, eight counts of using a cell phone during the commission of a crime, and a felony probation warrant;
* David James Daniel of Clarkesville - burglary (felony);
* Clara Annise Dean of Cornelia - eight counts of burglary, utilizing a communications device to communicate a felony (all felonies);
* Anna Lynne Roach of Cornelia - eight counts of burglary (felonies), eight counts of use of a cell phone during the commission of a crime, six counts of obstruction of an officer (misdemeanors); and
"Julian Adair will receive charges, but is being held in Hall County on a separate burglary which involves this ring of burglars," Darby said.
Marsteller said the case is not closed and interviews are ongoing.
"We're still following up with sequential search warrants and possibly some more arrests, and following up with additional interviews," Marsteller said.
Detective Amanda Green identified the Cornelia businesses burglarized as follows: Hair Experts, Ribeye's (twice), Great Wraps (twice), America's Best Mattress (twice), World Finance, Food Factory, Budget Time and the former Dance-A-Lott Studio.
Marsteller said there also were additional burglary attempts at Hair Experts and World Finance.
Additionally, those involved in the Cornelia business burglaries are facing possible charges in Clarkesville, Gainesville and Oakwood, Marsteller and Green said.
Marsteller credits communication between all divisions of the Cornelia department for the arrests.
"We had other parts of the department who logged in at least 100 man hours of stakeouts, to include surveillance, extra patrols, clerical work," Marsteller said. "There are many man hours put into this from all aspects of the department."
Marsteller expressed thanks to the business owners involved and to citizens for their patience during the investigation. In addition, he thanked additional business owners who allowed police personnel to review their surveillance videos.
"And we want to thank the surrounding agencies for their support," Green said.
This story will be updated.