May 20, 2016

Welcome SPO Anthony Levester!

Senior Patrol Officer Anthony Levester is one of three new officers joining the FBAC team this month. He tells us he chose this work and has stuck with it for twenty-three years “for the self-reward of doing the job”. 

With the Atlanta Police Department that entire time, he has worked for many years in burglary. Having seen plenty of this type of crime and he has learned what works. When asked for tips he said, “Make your home look occupied and make it difficult to break in with good deadbolt locks on all doors. Also have lighting on the exterior of your house and motion lights for back yards.”

Growing up in the small town of Monticello, Georgia and surrounded by the Oconee National Forest, you might not expect to find Anthony working in the big city. But the Jasper County school system has produced a few others who made it to the big time, like Trisha Yearwood along with at least a couple of pro football players. If you were to travel to Monticello, about 60 miles southeast of Atlanta, you might recognize scenes from the classic movie, “My Cousin Vinny” – especially the historic courthouse.

Today SPO Levester makes his home in Lithonia with his wife and two children, and if he wasn’t doing this, he just might be an Auto Mechanic. Want to talk cars with him? Look for him on patrol this month around Virginia-Highland and give him a big welcome and thanks for helping to keep us safe.

May 9, 2016

VaHi Safety Team Report Weeks 16 and 17 (4/10/16 – 4/23/16)

News and Notes

Recent CourtWatch Cases

Curtis Bethea (Midtown Face Puncher) – Bond Hearing

On Tuesday April 26th several Virginia-Highland and Midtown CourtWatchers showed up in Judge Doris Downs courtroom to provide community impact statements regarding Mr. Bethea’s request for bail. Upon seeing members of the community along with reporters from WSB and CBS46 News channels, the defense attorney elected not request bond. This is a great win for the community as this individual is extremely dangerous and unpredictable.

Note that Judge Downs also presided over the Greg Germani road rage case in which Mr. Germani was run over while riding his bicycle and severely injured. The defendant in that case, Joseph Alan Lewis, was sentenced to 15 years. Also, while waiting for Mr. Bethea’s case to begin we heard her lecture to a defendant in a plea hearing for another road rage incident. Based on those two cases, this is a no-nonsense judge who is willing to impose tough sentences where warranted.

Anthony Davis – Final Plea Hearing

On Tuesday and Wednesday May 3rd and 4th two Virginia-Highland CourtWatchers attended Judge Alford Dempsey’s courtroom to provide input regarding Mr. Davis’ plea hearing. The state offered Mr. David nine years to serve four (the balance on probation). Mr. Davis is a repeat offender with multiple burglary convictions. CourtWatchers were in attendance last summer on a case where he received ten years of probation supervision. Almost immediately he re-offend and was caught for the attempted burglary of Home Grown restaurant on Memorial. 

The defense in this case used a variety of delaying tactics to prevent a decision on Tuesday, so we all returned on Wednesday. At that time the defense brought up more delaying maneuvers that so angered Judge Dempsey he felt, in fairness to the defendant, he had to recuse himself from the case. The case has now been re-assigned to Judge Jerry Baxter and will most likely move forward to trail.

Candidate Forum for Fulton County Superior Court Judges

The Inman Park Neighborhood Association (IPNA) is hosting a candidate forum for the Fulton County Superior Court judges on Tuesday May 17th from 7 – 9 pm. The event will be held at the Trolley Barn on Edgewood Avenue and is open to any voter in Fulton County. More information can be found here.

Keep Virginia-Highland Beautiful Pre-Summerfest Clean-up – May 21st

Save the date! Keep Virginia-Highland Beautiful will be leading a neighborhood clean-up on Saturday morning May 21st. Help clean up the neighborhood before VHCA’s largest fund-raiser of the year. Pick up liter, take down stickers and flyers, pull weeds, and generally spruce up our common areas. Bring work gloves, scrapers, rakes, shovels and gas powered leaf blowers and weed whackers. We will provide bags for trash, recycling and yard waste. Meet between 8 – 8:30 at American Road House patio. Can’t make it that morning? Then take some time to tidy up your own street, or take a grocery bag with you when you walk the dog or the kids to school picking up litter along the way.

Learn about Atlanta’s Tree Ordinance

Are you passionate about saving Atlanta's trees and want to know more about what you can do? Or have you wondered about some of these questions: What is our tree ordinance? What can (or can’t) city arborists do? What’s the definition of a dead, dying, and hazardous (DDH) tree? Which rules apply to removing trees on construction sites? How does the Tree Commission and the appeals process work? What do the orange and yellow public notice signs mean? Check out Trees Atlanta’s Programs Calendar  to register for Protecting Atlanta’s Trees: Understanding the City of Atlanta Tree Ordinance coming up on May 17th.

Atlanta Police Path Force and Atlanta Fire Rescue Mobile Medics Partner to Patrol the Atlanta BeltLine

Atlanta Police Department’s Path Force Unit and Atlanta Fire Rescue Department’s Mobile Medics have joined forces to keep the Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside trail safe and secure. The Mobile Medics provide emergency medical service to citizens on the BeltLine, utilizing bicycles and equipped with emergency medical supplies and an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED). These tools allow them to quickly respond to medical emergencies along the trail where an ambulance or fire engine many not have access. The most common medical emergencies include; injuries from falls, heat-related illnesses, and difficulty breathing. The AFRD Mobile Medics are currently patrolling the Eastside trail on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm.

City Council District Six Newsletter

Every month our council representative, Alex Wan publishes a newsletter for all residents and businesses in the district. Follow the link to this month’s newsletter visit the District 6 website to sign up to receive the newsletter via email and for other information about what is happening in the district

Upcoming Zoning Ordinance Meetings

Mary Norwood, (Post 2 At Large) is Chair of the Zoning Committee for Atlanta City Council. As such she is taking a lead role in the Zoning Ordinance Re-Write process currently underway for the city. She has notified us of the next two public information meetings which will update us on the Zoning Ordinance Re-Write Assessment Process.  These public meetings are an opportunity for you to hear the consultant team’s findings and the strategic recommendations for changes that they think should be included in the Re-Write of the Zoning Ordinance.  Please attend to give your input and learn about the work that these consultants have done. The meetings will be held Wednesday May 18th and Thursday May 26th. Details can be found at the link.

Other Upcoming Meetings

VHCA meeting – Monday 5/9/16 at 7 pm at Ponce de Leon Branch, Fulton County Library
NPU F Meeting – Monday 5/16/16 at 7 pm Hillside

Crime Statistics

The following information is taken from our APD Zone 6 report (
It includes information from the Virginia-Highland Beat 601 reported incidents along with relevant reports from other nearby beats. Keep in mind that not all incidents are reported. A map showing the location of beats 601 – 612 within Zone 6 can be found at this link This information is not shared to scare anyone, but to let you know what happens around us every day so you can be alert and aware.

Homicide None reported in Beat 601 and none in Zone 6.

Rape None reported in Beat 601 and none in Zone 6.

Pedestrian/Carjacking Robbery One reported in Beat 601 and six reported in Zone 6.

On April 22nd in the overnight hours a couple were confronted as they attempted to enter their apartment on N. Highland Ave. Three males with handguns instructed them to get on the ground. The suspects took the female victim’s bag with ID, cash and phone. They also took a guitar with other musical gear from the male victim. There were no physical injuries. FBAC was on duty and responded to this 911 call.

Follow-up note: the guitar and gear were located at a music store in Marietta and the two individuals who brought it into the store were arrested and charged with possession of stolen merchandise. They were arraigned and released on bond. APD investigators are working this angle to connect the dots to the three robbery suspects.

Residential Robbery None reported in Beat 601 and none in Zone 6.

Commercial Robbery None reported in Beat 601 and four reported in Zone 6.

Aggravated Assault None reported in Beat 601 and four reported in Zone 6.

Residential Burglary None reported in Beat 601 and four reported in Zone 6.

Non-Residential Burglary One reported in Beat 601 and four reported in Zone 6.

Attempt Only - On April 18th the window of a business at Amsterdam Walk was broken. A flat screen TV was disturbed but apparently the thieves were unable to disconnect it, so nothing was taken.

Larceny from Vehicle Seven reported in Beat 601 and twenty-six reported in Zone 6.

Vehicles were entered on Greenwood (2), Kanuga (2), Maiden Lane, and St. Charles (2). Vehicles were entered via broken windows. In addition, three of the vehicles (one on Greenwood and both on St. Charles) had wheels and tires removed. One of these vehicles was a Jeep and the other two were Hondas. Of the non-wheel thefts thieves made off with laptops, schoolbooks and papers, book bags and a backpack.

Other Larcenies One reported in Beat 601 and thirty-three reported in Zone 6.

On April 21st a man walked into an office on N. Highland Ave asking if it was the yoga studio. After walking around in the front office he left quickly and witnesses realized he had stolen a wallet.

On April 15th a bike was stolen from the garage at Ponce City Market. Apparently the owner waited until they arrived home to report the theft, so it is recorded at Greenwood Avenue, even though the theft actually took place in O4W Beat 603.

Auto Theft One reported in Beat 601 and thirteen reported in Zone 6.

On April 23rd a 2004 Honda was stolen from Briarcliff Court. Apparently the owner leaves the vehicle unlocked and the keys in the console so that he and his cousin can both use the vehicle.

If this report was forwarded to you and you would like to be added to the distribution, please send a message to me at with your name, email address, and affiliation. Thanks.

Stay Safe!

Kay Stephenson

April 29, 2016

FBAC Report April 2016 - Virginia Highland Security Patrol (FBAC)

The activity report is a summary of what our FBAC Patrol Officers do on their shifts.

Directed Patrols:  19
Drop ins/Park and Walks:  28
Suspicious person:  3
Alarm Response:  7
Suspicious Vehicle:  2
Parking Complaints:  9
Noise Complaints:  0
Out of town Checks:  18
Abandoned Auto:  0
FBAC member Contact:  5
Lost Person:  0
Street Obstruction:  0
Wanted Persons:  0
Intoxicated Persons:  0
Found Property:  0
Criminal Trespass:  0
Info for Officers:  3
Shots Fired:  1
Calls for service (cell Phone):  5

News and Notes:

Call 911 First!

All members please call 911 first if you see a crime in progress or a suspicious person or activity, and then call the FBAC Phone. The phone number is (770) 310-0871 and is also on the schedule that is emailed to you monthly.

If you see someone or something suspicious please report it to the police.  When driving or out walking keep an eye out in the neighborhood, what you see and report just might prevent a crime.

House Sign Campaign

Virginia-Highland Civic Association Safety Committee along with Neighborhood Watch and FBAC are teaming up to improve visibility of house numbers within the neighborhood. Today as many as 50% of the homes on some streets have numbers that are not visible from the street after dark. Some don’t have any numbers visible or are not easy to read even in full daylight. This presents a serious risk of delay when first responders, whether police, fire or ambulance, are trying to locate you in an emergency. 

Our street captains will be distributing information to their street about the campaign, and this Saturday April 30th, volunteers will be staffing tables with information about what to do to make your home easier to find along with sample house signage that can be purchased from VHCA and from Intown Ace Hardware. See volunteers on Saturday at the triangle (Virginia and N. Highland) from 9-11, or in front of Ace Hardware from 2-4.

Significant Incidents:

Note that the names of victims and other details are sometimes removed from these reports to protect the victim.

Armed Robbery 881 N. Highland Av (0124 am) from Officers Narrative:

On 4/22/2016, I (Officer J. T. Thompson) was dispatched to a pedestrian robbery at 881 N Highland Ave NE. I was dispatched at 0124 hours. There were two victims. Victims were walking together. They had just left the Warren bar at 816 N Highland Ave NE and were walking to their apartment at 881 N Highland Ave NE apt 7. 

The apartments are horseshoe shaped opening towards N Highland Ave NE. Victim 2 advised they had walked into the courtyard and were about to walk up the steps to their apartment when he heard the suspects run up from behind him. Victim 2 advised there were 3 suspects. Suspect 1 told them to get on the ground. Both victims got on the ground. Victim 1 advised they stole her leather purse from her at this point. It had her wallet with her identification, debit card, social security card and $300 in cash in it. 

Her iPhone was also in the purse. The phone was turned off at first. We later tracked the phone around 0245 hours. It appeared to be at the end of Center St NW in zone 1. It was not moving at the time of the track and was turned off a few minutes later. I asked radio to send a zone 1 unit to that location and gave them a lookout of the suspects. We also alerted the Video Integration Unit.

Investigator Bacon came to the location. Lt. Roberson was notified on scene. Victim 1 was carrying his bass guitar in a gear bag. The suspects stole his gear bag with the guitar in it. He advised they patted his body down, but they did not steal his wallet or cell phone. The guitar was a Fender Precision 1959 reissue edition worth around $4000. Also his foot pedals for the guitar were in the gear bag. Victim 2 advised he could let the local music stores know about what was stolen so that they could alert police if someone brought in his gear. 

There were 3 suspects. Suspect 1 was the suspect that told them to get down. Victim 2 had a description of suspect 1. Victim 2 advised suspect 1 was a black male wearing baggy black jeans. He was wearing a black zip up hoodie. He did not see suspect's face very good. Suspect 1 had a silver in color semi-auto hand gun. Victim 1 got a better look at suspect 2. Suspect 2 was a black male in his early 20's. He was wearing a plain black hoodie. He was wearing a red bandanna on his head and had shoulder length dreads. He was wearing white tennis shoes. Victim 1 advised that she could pick suspect 2 out of a lineup if needed. Suspect 2 had a black semi-auto handgun. Victims did not have a description of suspect 3.

FBAC was on duty and responded to this call

Follow-up note: the guitar and gear were located at a music store in Marietta and the two individuals who brought it into the store were arrested and charged with possession of stolen merchandise. They were arraigned and released on bond. APD investigators are working this angle to connect the dots to the three robbery suspects.

Armed Robbery 1186 Briarcliff Pl (0140 am) from Officers Narrative:

On 4/26/2016, I (Officer J. T. Thompson) was dispatched to an attempted robbery with a shooting near 1186 Briarcliff Pl NE. I was dispatched at 0140 hours. Victim advised to the investigator the incident happened while he was walking from Dark Horse (814 N Highland Ave NE) up Briarcliff Pl NE to get to his apartment at 850 Briarcliff Rd NE. We determined by the location of the shell casings that the robbery happened in front of or very close to 1186 Briarcliff Pl NE. 

Victim advised he was approached by two black males wearing dark colored hoodies and masks. He advised both of the males had handguns. Victim advised one of the males told him to give them his wallet. Victim had a handgun in his waistband. He reached to pull out his weapon and he advised the two suspects ran and began to shoot at him. Victim returned fire at the suspects. Suspects did not get any of victim's belongings. 

He advised he last saw the men leaving in a black in color older model 4 door small to mid-size sedan. Victim advised they drove East on Briarcliff Pl NE towards Briarcliff Rd. Victim had 3 gunshot wounds. He had one to his right arm at the elbow. He had one to his left leg inner thigh. He had one to his right foot. Grady and Atlanta fire came to the location. The paramedic advised that the shot to his right foot was likely self-inflicted. Victim advised he may have accidentally shot himself in the foot while retrieving his gun from his pants. I had a hard time trying to question Victim because he was in extreme pain. Victim was transported to Grady Trauma room 7. 

Witness 1, advised he was inside his apartment and heard approximately 12 shots. He advised he went onto his back porch and saw victim stumbling in the street yelling for help and to call 911. He advised victim told him he was shot. He advised victim took a handgun from his pants and put it on the ground. Witness then kicked it away from them while waiting for police. 

Witness 2, advised the following: "I heard a gunshot and immediately woke up." She advised she saw two men running East on Briarcliff Pl then North on Rosedale. She advised one of the men was firing his weapon. She advised they appeared to be black males wearing blue jeans, long sleeve shirts and hats. She advised all the clothing was dark. She described a gold in color older model Toyota Sedan that had been parked on Rosedale suddenly taking off after she lost sight of the two men running away. It took off up Briarcliff Pl toward Briarcliff Rd NE. She then saw another man limping around the corner. She advised he hobbled towards the parking lot of the building next to her (846 Briarcliff rd Ne). He was yelling call the police. She advised she did not see anyone's face to be able to identify anyone. 

Witness 3, advised he has a live camera inside his apartment. It does not point outside, but it does have audio. He advised he listened back to the audio of the shooting and counted 11 shots. He advised the time on his camera during the shooting was 1:37 and he would be happy to provide investigators with that footage if it would help the investigation in any way. 

I placed victim’s shirt, pants and the sock and shoe with the gun shot in it in property as evidence. We recovered 7 shell casings from scene. 3 were .380 caliber casings and 4 were .40 caliber casings. Victims hand gun was placed in city property. It was a Glock 22 .40 caliber with serial number GEP765. Lt. Roberson came to the crime scene. General Investigator Bacon came to the location. Crime scene (Reeves) came to process the incident scene.


All members call 911 first if you see a crime in progress or a suspicious person or activity, and then call the FBAC Phone. The phone number is (770) 310-0871 and is also on the schedule that is emailed to you monthly.

If you see someone or something suspicious please report it to the police.  When driving or out walking keep an eye out in the neighborhood, what you see and report just might prevent a crime.

Note: Part one crime statistics from the Atlanta Police Department are available online and will be included in the VaHi Safety Team Reports which are distributed by Neighborhood Watch approximately twice per month. These statistics will no longer be duplicated here. 

If you have questions about this change, please send a message to If you do not know who your street captain is, please send a message to with your name and street address, and Eleanor Barrineau will connect you.