Brothers Jonathan Derek Holder, 28, and Joseph Dylan Holder, 23, both of 30 Hickory Hollow in Cartersville, were arrested and charged Thursday in 23 entering auto cases and could face additional charges lodged by Adairsville police in connection with similar crimes.
"We've had numerous entering autos all throughout the county, then we started getting a rash of them in the north end of the county," said Maj. Doug Duncan, who heads BCSO's Criminal Investigation Division.
A break came when a victim reported a suspicious car on Hopkins Road in Adairsville and authorities issued a "be on the lookout."
"The morning of the entering autos, a victim got up and heard something outside and saw a small, silver car leaving. We got the 'look out' immediately," Duncan said, adding an APD officer saw a car fitting that description and conducted a traffic stop.
What the officer noticed was a large number of items in the back of the car. Duncan said that is where the good police work comes in -- being aware and observant.
Investigators were called in and recovered from the car "a substantial amount of property" they say had just been stolen. They believe the pair hit several Adairsville area neighborhoods, including Wesley Mills, Hopkins Farm, Westover Ridge, Eagle Mountain, Aspen Meadows and Planters from August through October.
After searching several homes connected to the Holders, investigators recovered more than $15,000 in alleged stolen property, including cell phones, cameras, MP3 players, firearms, GPS devices and credit cards.
In a press release, Sheriff Clark Millsap pointed out the pair -- who Duncan said were both previously arrested in connection with entering auto crimes -- allegedly broke into unlocked vehicles containing valuables in plain sight.
Authorities say auto burglary is prevalent in Bartow County, and residents should lock their car doors and take valuables inside or keep them out of sight in vehicles.
"One of the most important things we've talked about numerous times is lock your car at night whether you think anything is valuable or not," Duncan said. "A lot of times all they want to do is walk by a car. If it's unlocked they'll reach in and grab whatever is there, whether it be change or in this instance it was jewelry, money, cell phones, GPS units, just anything. In one instance, they just took the keys. On that ring were house keys, building keys. They went through a number of subdivisions doing this. It wasn't just one subdivision."
In addition, Duncan urges people to report suspicious activity.
"That's one thing we've said before is the citizens of Bartow County can help tremendously. If they see something that's going on that doesn't look right in their neighborhood, call us. Whether it turns out to be anything of help or not, at least they've called to say this doesn't look right in our neighborhood," Duncan said. "That's exactly what happened to this victim, [he] saw something going on that didn't look right and called."
Jonathan and Joseph Holder each face 23 counts of entering auto and one count each of theft by receiving stolen property. Joseph Holder also is charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
They have been bound over to Superior Court for bond hearings.
The investigation is ongoing and authorities expect additional charges to result.