Fairburn Police pursue ‘heartless' burglary crew

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Police said they have arrested two people and searching for others that are part of the crew of burglars, who investigators said are targeting the homes of elderly, the sick, and even the dead.

Fairburn Police believe they are part of a crew of thieves in the South Metro, searching for homes that remain unoccupied for some time.

One home targeted, police said, includes one owned by Philip Dodson’s 87-year-old mother. Dodson said two days after his mother passed away, the crooks stole a backup generator.

Dodson said he asked neighbors to constantly check the family home when he could not, but said the burglars still came back.

“They have tried to break into the house four times,” said Dodson to FOX 5 by phone.

Police said they're trying to stop the crew and round up the culprits. In a different incident, Jeffory Griffin and Nicole Dribnak were both arrested on charges connected to a burglary. 

“[They are] revictimizing the families who have to deal with the deceased... or the aging of their parent,” Detective Charles Israel said.

Detective Israel said the crew has scouted out houses owned by seniors, the elderly, and those placed in care homes. He said the thieves hear about people falling ill, passing away, or search for homes that appear to be unattended, whether through uncut grass or porches with packages.

Even if a family clears out major valuables from the home, the thieves have stolen items such as antiques, appliances or collectibles, which can be sold on Craigslist or other online sites.

Fairburn Police offer the following tips to help safeguard your loved one's home:

  • Have a trusted person stay at the home.
  • Make sure the grass is constantly cut.
  • Clear out mail from the mailbox and packages from the porch daily.
  • Ask Fairburn Police, if you live in the city, to do a house check of a home; the service is also offered to families who are out of town and on vacation.
  • Install alarms and surveillance cameras in the home.

Anyone who may have further information, in this case, is asked to call Detective Israel of the Fairburn Police Department at 770- 683-4096. People can also contact Crime Stoppers to provide tips for a reward up to $2,000.