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Teens could face trial in alleged Troup County home invasion

Police: Pregnant woman fled from robbers

By Tyler H. Jones

tjones@civitasmedia.com

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LaGRANGE — Two LaGrange men accused of invading and burglarizing a pregnant woman’s home in June appeared in Troup County Magistrate Court on Thursday for a probable cause hearing.

Andrew T. Cantrell, 18, of Clearview Court and Jeffery Dallas, 19, of Merrill Lane are charged with burglary and gang participation in a June 24 home invasion and robbery, according to arrest warrants filed by investigators.

Shelly Downs, an investigator with the Troup County Sheriff’s Office, testified the pair went to a home in the first block of Grayson Trail and Cantrell used a hammer and chisel to smash a glass door in the rear of the home. Downs testified that a 9-month-pregnant woman was home during the alleged burglary and fled to a neighbor’s home when she heard the glass shatter.

Two Troup County Sheriff’s deputies arrived a short time later and found a blue Kia sedan parked in the drive way of the home, Downs said. Deputy Randy Mobley went toward the front of the home while Deputy James Langley went to the rear.

Langley allegedly found the shattered glass door and Cantrell attempting to exit the home. Langley restrained Cantrell and gave him verbal instructions to comply with arrest. The noise caught the attention of Mobley, who came to Langley’s aid.

When the deputies returned to the front of the home with Cantrell in custody, the blue Kia sedan was gone — along with Dallas. Deputies found a box of ammunition and gold jewelry on the ground near where the car had been. A bulletin was put out to other law enforcement to look for the vehicle, which was stopped a short time later at a gas station on New Franklin Road in LaGrange.

Dallas, who was allegedly driving the vehicle, denied being at the home, according to testimony by sheriff’s investigator Jorje Olmo-Novoa. Dallas claimed he had only dropped Cantrell off at a corner store north of LaGrange. Dallas was taken into custody and charged with burglary and five counts of participation in a criminal street gang.

Investigators allege the motive of Cantrell and Dallas in the burglary was to enhance their status in the Bloods street gang. Downs testified that Cantrell knew the homeowner and knew there was a gun in the home. She said he had spent the night there and was friends with the son of the homeowner, and that he had used the gun before to shoot armadillos with the son.

Dallas was allegedly already in possession of a smaller gun, according to Downs’ testimony. He allegedly told Cantrell — a who investigators believe was a perspective gang recruit — that if he broke into the house and stole the homeowner’s larger gun, Cantrell could have his gun and he would keep the larger one from the burglary.

Olmo-Novoa testified that a review of Dallas’ Facebook profile page showed pictures of him flashing gang signs and other tell-tale symbols of gang activity. Dallas sat quietly during the testimony, shaking his head.

In all, Cantrell is charged with burglary, possession of tools for the commission of a crime and two counts of participation in a criminal street gang. Dallas is charged with burglary and five counts of participation in a criminal street gang.

Magistrate Judge Vicki Sue McWaters ordered both held without bond pending trial.

Tyler H. Jones is a reporter at LaGrange Daily News. He may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2155.