Alpharetta Police: Carjack Suspect Beat Teen with Handgun
The 16-year-old had just arrived at North Point Mall to drive her dad home from work with the family car.
Chilling details have come out about a crime spree that started in Forsyth County before heading to Alpharetta and then Duluth, involving armed robbery, auto theft, carjacking and terroristic threats.
A Gainesville man remains in Forsyth County Jail on charges stemming from the incidents.
View the video that accompanies this article to hear more about this "chilling" and "brazen" crime spree from George Gordon, spokesperson for the Alpharetta Department of Public Safety.
The crimes appeared to begin in Forsyth County's Ivey Walk subdivision early on Friday, Aug. 17. The suspect allegedly stole a family member's Chevy Tahoe and two handguns – one of which was recovered from the suspect when he was arrested several days later in Sandy Springs.
Crimes Begin in Alpharetta
Early Friday afternoon, the BeJewel store in Alpharetta was the scene of an armed robbery. A man walked in at 12:45 p.m. and when the only employee present came out of the back of the store, he pulled a handgun and told her to open the register. He took cash out of the register and told the employee not to call police and that he'd be watching her for five minutes.
Teen Waiting to Drive Dad Home Carjacked from Mall
At 8:30 p.m., a 16-year-old girl was outside Van Maur at North Point Mall in the family's Kia Soul to pick her father up from work. The suspect approached her and said she had dropped something to distract her, using that distraction to take her keys and grab her. He then forced her to take him on a harrowing ride, during which he screamed at her, hit her with a handgun in the back of the head and pointed it at her, threatening to kill her, according to Alpharetta police incident reports and Gordon.
The suspect got very upset when she told him she was only 16 and didn't have any credit or debit cards, so she couldn't withdraw any money from an ATM machine. Whenever she cried or "freaked out," he would hit her in the back of the head and scream at her. He made her drive onto GA 400 at Haynes Bridge Road, and exit the highway at Old Milton Parkway before having her pull into a business parking lot. Once there, he threw her out of the car onto the ground and drove away, Gordon said.
The teen flagged down a passing motorist and called the police.
Suspect Photo Upsets Victim, But She Identifies Him
On Monday, Aug. 20, an Alpharetta investigator showed the teen – who had stayed home from school because she was still traumatized – photos from surveillance video of a Duluth armed robbery. She couldn't identify the suspect in those. However, when he was flipping through his case file and discussing the Kia Soul shown in the Duluth crime video, the teen screamed out "That's him" when the investigator got to a photo from the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office. Once her parents calmed her down, she was able to positively identify the Forsyth suspect as the person who allegedly carjacked her.
Suspect Caught in Sandy Springs, Admits Carjacking
Just after the investigator left North Point Mall where he met with the teen and her parents, he wrote in his incident report that he learned that Sandy Springs police had the suspect in custody. A Forsyth County warrant/fugitive unit was out tracking the suspect on a probation warrant and the vehicle and gun thefts in that county, Gordon said. Sandy Springs police assisted in stopping the stolen Kia Soul he allegedly was driving and in the arrest.
So the Alpharetta investigator headed to Sandy Springs, where he recorded the suspect confessing to the carjacking at North Point Mall, according to Gordon and the incident report. He said he didn't know anything about an armed robbery in Alpharetta.
Sandy Springs police spotted a loaded handgun in the stolen car.
During questioning, the suspect said things were hazy, and "I'm pretty messed up on dope," according to the police incident report.
Duluth police also believe the suspect is responsible for an armed robbery of a Rite Aid pharmacy on Aug. 18 at 8 a.m., a day after the Forsyth and Alpharetta crimes.
Edward Kim, 31, of Gainesville, was arrested and charged by Forsyth Sheriff's investigators, and will face whatever charges the District Attorney presents before cases in other jurisdictions are heard.
Alpharetta investigators have sworn warrants charging Kim with:
- Hijacking of a motor vehicle;
- Armed robbery;
- Cruelty to children;
- Possession of a firearm in the commission of a crime;
- Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon;
- Aggravated Assault;
- Terroristic threats.
The arrest information was supplied by the Alpharetta Department of Public Safety. It does not indicate a conviction.