Multiple Arrests Made in Hamilton Mill Car Break-ins

Dacula High School and Mountain View High student among those arrested. Several juveniles also facing charges.

Four Dacula teens are in jail after being charged in connection with several Hamilton Mill car break-ins and more charges are possible police say.

Christopher Walter Kraweic, 19, of 740 Roland Manor Drive in Dacula and Duncan Agustus Grove, 18, of 2061 Amberly Crossing Lane in Dacula were arrested early on July 28 along with student Stephen Larry Wayne Griffin, 17, of 733 Bartow Drive, Dacula. A four suspect, Mountain View High School student Nathan Best, 17, of 1411 Fairbrooke Court in Dacula, surrendered to police later that day. Each of the four suspects are currently charged with four counts of entering auto.

Police say the four teens broke into several cars in the Hamilton Mill subdivision between the hours of 4 p.m. on Wednesday, July 27 and 6 a.m. on Thursday, July 28.

According to Gwinnett County Police Department public information officer Cpl. Jake Smith, officers were on patrol in the Dacula subdivision when they saw a suspicious vehicle.

“Upon looking into it, they saw what could possibly be items stolen from cars,” Smith said. “They’d been made well aware of the problems we’ve been having in the area with entering autos.”

Inside the vehicle, officers could see a number of cell phones and GPS units, more than a normal amount for one vehicle, Smith added.

Officers staked out the vehicle and eventually saw four young men approach the car. When officers attempted to make contact, the teens fled.

Several hours later, a concerned citizen in Dacula’s Belfaire subdivision called after seeing four teenage boys sleeping at a picnic table in the neighborhood common area.

“The officers responded there and then took three of those suspects into custody,” Smith said. Best, the fourth suspect, eluded capture but surrendered to authorities later that day. The teens had traveled several miles on foot from the scene of the entering autos.

“The distance between where the crimes actually occurred and where they were ultimately discovered and arrested, was about eight miles and that’s by road,” Smith said. “Presumably they ran not on the road but through the woods and across golf courses and things like that. They covered several miles on foot.”

Authorities believe the suspects were trying to reach the home of one of the teens.

“At this time, each of those four have been charged with four counts of entering auto and a fifth one is under active investigation as we speak and the possibility of several more charges is also under investigation,” Smith said. “[Investigators] are basically going to take every report that they’ve had in the area for the past several months and compare it with these cases and see if anything matches up as far as evidence, descriptions and then of course whatever it is the suspects have to offer up themselves.”

Smith credited the alert Belfaire resident with potentially helping resolve dozens of unsolved cases of entering auto.

“I think the citizens in that area have taken this problem to heart,” Smith said. “It’s a very nice community, generally a very safe community, and they really are intolerant of that kind of activity in their community which is fantastic.”

Police have held at least -- in an attempt to educate residents about the problem and what they can do to avoid becoming a victim of crime.

“In this particular case, the citizen didn’t see these young men really doing anything but loitering, but she felt it suspicious enough in her mind to call in to the police and we think that’s fantastic. We would encourage any other citizens to do the same,” Smith said. “The concerned citizen in this case led directly to these cases being solved.”

The four arrests follow another set of arrests earlier this week. According to Smith, four 15-year-olds have also been charged with breaking into cars in Hamilton Mill. Details regarding those arrests are not currently available. Investigators are working to determine how many Hamilton Mill car break-ins may have been committed by those arrested and whether the incidents are connected to any other Dacula area entering autos.

In each of the four car break-ins reported Thursday night, the victims had left their vehicles unlocked. In three of the cases, GPS units were taken. Smith said officers were able to locate the victims by using the data stored in the GPS units.

Police encourage citizens to secure all valuables and keep car doors locked.

Kraweic, Grove, Griffin and Best remain in the Gwinnett County Detention Center. Bond for each teen has been set at $77,800.

Kristin Ball July 30, 2011 at 01:45 PM
Jail time is just what they need. If they are not getting the message loud and clear from their families, then let the law convince them that a life of crime can get you life behind bars! If you do the crime you MUST do the time... No child or parent is perfect but hopefully these children will learn from their mistakes.
kttal July 30, 2011 at 02:02 PM
Anonymous, I totall agree with you!! Yes they did wrong and they deserve to be punished but ruining their lives at 17 is not the answer. People are so quick to judge till its their kid or family member. I dont know one person that hasnt done something wrong in their life they just didnt get caught. I know adults who do worse every day drinking and driving, drugs, abusing their spouse or kids. At least these kids didnt hurt someone that would have been a tragedy. Yes I know one of these boys and his family! He is a good kid who made a stupid mistake. His family is devasted. He has admitted his guilt, he now has to take his punishment and do his time whatever it is. let them be blasting them all over the internet and putting their address on here is uncalled for!
Cynthia Montgomery July 30, 2011 at 02:29 PM
If you live your life within the guidelines of society, you will not come in contact with the law or the courts systems normally( wills & deaths exempt).If you can control your family matters, you will not come in contact with the courts. If however you are having issues & problems that are not being handled within the family then the law & the courts come into your realm. Sometimes it is a blessing in disguise to finally have an event that stops criminal actions for you. Some people just need a wake up call & then they change their lives, others are in and out of jail for an entire life time. It is the way things are handled that will determine the future of these young criminals. I feel for the families, it is a hard knock time for them. Yet better now than in 4 years when they have advanced to carrying guns in to homes and shooting innocent families asleep in their beds! Think I am overstating the issue??? WATCH TV TONIGHT and listen to the endless reports of thugs that went from "CAR HOPPING" to restaurant robbery, to smash and grabs, to home invasions. Help your brothers by allowing them to feel the pain of their crimes. SOMEONE is hurt when they steal. My neighbor was dropped by his insurance company because his car was hit 4 times. He will now pay more for coverage because of thugs! He is out of work! He is hurting in a very real way. He needed his phone and computer! He had come in late from an out of state job & was hit. Perfection-NO Correction-YES!!
Elgie July 30, 2011 at 03:21 PM
These boys made some very adult choices when they chose to break into these cars and even the minors will probably face some very adult consequences. We all have consequences for everything we do, and the consequences aren't meant to ruin their lives - they're meant to get them to understand the seriousness of their actions and give them a chance to make a different choice the next time they're faced with the same "opportunity". I doubt he'll do 20 years for this crime, but I hope that whatever the punishment is, that it will be one where he genuinely learns from it. Your brother will have the chance to turn his life around if he chooses to learn from this and is accountable for his actions. If he blames others, the police, the courts, etc., he will be in the same (if not worse) situation again. Don't take your brother's actions personally - you didn't do it, he did. You can still love your brother while letting him know that what he did was wrong.
Ashley Pepitone July 30, 2011 at 04:05 PM
Sending these little gems to prison will only give them the opportunity to learn new tricks from their fellow inmates. Letting them go with a slap on the wrist- to families who (clearly) don't understand or care about the serious nature of their crimes teaches them nothing. Let's get one thing straight here- there was more taken than some GPS systems and cell phones. A community's sense of safety and security has been compromised. Not to point fingers but ignorance breeds ignorance...
Citizen July 30, 2011 at 09:57 PM
Would not expect a "sister" to one of the theives to to say anything different! However, if you think this is the first time they have been involved in criminal activity, then you are fooling yourself! Most likely this is just the first time they have been caught!! I'm am willing to bet that these young men (some would say thugs!) have troubled past, like maybe smoking a little weed, staying out all night, disrespecting their parents, and maybe even dropping out of school I'm sure some of those apply!!! as for your comment about "Parents do not stalk their children and put trust in them". Maybe they should do a little more "stalking" so they know who their children are hanging out with, where they are at all times, and what they are up to!!!! That is what parents do! It's called parenting! Something people in this country have forgotten how to do! 20 years in prison? I don't think anyone wants that, and I very seriously doubt they will serve enen one year (unless they already have a criminal past). However, to just put them on probation is a freaking joke! They should do some time, and then maybe, just maybe they will get a clue! The problem with youngs people these days is they don't understand there are consequences for our actions! I personally fault the parents, and our justic system! The attitude of "they are only 17" is a joke!!! I bet if you were the victim age would not matter!
Ed Varn July 31, 2011 at 03:48 AM
A quick check online of the Gwinnett County Court system shows two of these fine, upstanding young gentlemen already had an arrest record. Imagine my shock and horror at finding that out.
Kristi Reed (Editor) July 31, 2011 at 05:18 AM
*Comment Deleted Please be mindful of the language used in comments even if you are quoting another source. Our complete terms of use are here: http://dacula.patch.com/terms Thank you.
Gary Fox July 31, 2011 at 12:31 PM
YOU HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD ASHLEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Cynthia Montgomery July 31, 2011 at 01:37 PM
Ed,Thanks for looking out for our neighbors.The ability of on time reporting & comments by e-newspaper readers has opened the doors wide for citizens to be alert & take control of their communities. SEE SOMETHING-SAY SOMETHING, an Atlanta program, encourages citizens to be involved.I too saw these accused robbers appear before in Gwinnett's lineup.Yet, we are asked to "GIVE THEM A BREAK" because if put in jail, they may "LEARN HOW TO BE BETTER CRIMINALS!" It is time to stop the the liberal whining about how we need to PLAY NICE with criminals. Courts will decide & by courts I mean those sitting on the jury that will decide the fate of these thugs."DONT RUIN THEIR YOUNG LIVES!" THEY are ruining their lives, we are just having to be a pawns, in their chosen demise, by being in the communities of their robbing sprees.Two are repeat offenders.Two are first time "caught" offenders. Their families are hoping for a CASEY ANTHONEY jury. SO the POLICE better have their case STRONG because the attorneys are planning now how to get them off. The repeat offenders last consequence was not only not a deterrent, it was so slight that they enlisted two more into their lucrative career. CAR HOPPING happens between 2-5 am. A "stash" car is parked. A lookout is in place.Thugs work up & down a "marked" street. It is now time for each neighbor to take a WATCH once a month & if they SEE SOMETHING-SAY SOMETHING to 911. If your neighbors have been hit-they will be back! Thanks PATCH for updates!
Sleuth007 July 31, 2011 at 06:23 PM
I can only find one (Best) that has an arrest record. With that said, as the old saying goes, "Let those without sin cast the first stone". These boys have made tremendous mistakes, but let's remember these boys have families that are hurting right now. I know some of them personally. Before anyone throws them under the bus for poor parenting, you best pray that you don't find yourself in the same type of situation one day. There is only so much a parent can do with an unruly 18yr old that doesn't want to live by his parents rules. If you have younger children, sometimes the best thing is to let that 18 yr old go out in the world before he gives his younger siblings at home the wrong image of how to conduct himself. These parents are each dealing with this crisis in thier own way. And they are struggling sleeping at nights in hopes that thier son makes the right decision and that they, as a family, make the right decision for thier sons. Alll I ask is that you respect the families and withhold your judgement on them as parents. These boys will pay for thier crime. I have had my car broken into before. I certainly felt violated. And I feel for those that had this happen to them. Now let's move on and pray that these boys realize the error of thier ways and can get on the right path to being productive citizens.
Elaine Brooks July 31, 2011 at 07:12 PM
To the Patch, I sincerely apologize for posting my comment with a couple of words that should not have been posted. I was simply copying from the one of boys Facebook page to prove a point. That even after they were caught by police there was still no remorse or respect for the law or people. I didn't even think about the words they were using. A lot of teens think they can do anything and get away with it. So sad because their families are truly suffering. I will be a litle more careful in future posting that this does not happen again. Again so sorry.,
TheLaw August 01, 2011 at 01:52 AM
Sleuth007 - The parents are responsible. The 18 year old didn't "just become unruly": The parents allowed that behavior to grow into what has turned into an unruly 18 year old. It's the incorrect thinking that parents need to be their children's friend. They do not. They need to be the parent!
Sleuth007 August 01, 2011 at 02:48 AM
Well then "TheLaw", I guess everyone of the inmates at Gwinnett County have some pretty bad parents. Come on, you can not really believe that. To label every criminal from a "bad" family with bad parents is assanine. As I have stated, I know several of the parents personally and I KNOW AS A FACT that they are good parents. For a child to kid to make the wrong decision may in some cases be because of a bad upbringing or parenting, but to label ALL of them that way shows your intelligence or lack thereof. I pray that you don't end up having a child stray and be subjected to people making unitelligent and uninformed comments such as yours.
Ashley Pepitone August 01, 2011 at 02:55 AM
An unruly 18 year old who doesn't want to live by his parent's rules is one thing. A criminal who breaks the law repeatedly is quite another.
Cynthia Montgomery August 01, 2011 at 04:16 AM
007, So if all those housed in the Gwinnett County Jail had good parents then WHAT were they, a 'BAD SEED?' SO if 18 isn't the age of reason & responsibility Ashley, when is it? DO you become a reasoning adult at 19, 20, 21, 25, 31, 45, when is it Ashley? Some religions believe that the child knows right from wrong and has a moral reasoning ability at the age of seven. Medical professionals (shrinks) also agree that the brain is able, at this young age, to know right from wrong Well, that kinda of punches a hole in the, " HE IS JUST A KID AT 18 years old" doesn't it! For those of you whom are living the nightmare of having an out of control teen child in your home that will not follow the house rules or societies rules...DO SOMETHING NOW because you can not make any decision on getting them into programs once they are 18 years old ...WHY? because they are considered ADULTS by our governmental agencies like the court systems and jails & YOU NO LONGER have the right to place another adult into treatment because they are NOW an adult!! Yet, when they rob their neighbors at the ripe old age of 18, some in society want to call them CHILDREN! SO for these 4 thugs when did they learn right from wrong? And if they did learn as a child, right from wrong, from their parents, what went wrong? That is the million dollar question that is unanswerable or is it? Ashley, ED, The Law,Gary Fox,Elaine,Sleuth007,Kristin,Kathy,Citizen,Anonymous, Kttyal, Elgle or anyone? What happened?
Ashley Pepitone August 01, 2011 at 01:27 PM
Ms. Montgomery, you misunderstood me entirely. Sleuth007 referred to the young men as unruly 18yr olds that don't want to live by their parents rules. I was saying that's not what they are- they are criminals. Please read carefully before you lash out.
Sleuth007 August 01, 2011 at 02:11 PM
I will try to dumb this down for you "TheLaw" and others that want to talk bad about and make assumptions about the parents that none of you know. No one is saying that these kids, (and let's not fool ourselves they are kids) did not committ a crime. They certainly did. What I am saying, that most of you have misunderstood, is to leave the parents out of this. They are grieving due to thier sons making bad decisions in thier lives. They are good parents doing the best they can. All of the parents of these kids have older children that have made the right decisions and are productive citizens. Give the some credit there. Don't make a conclusion on these parents based on one child.
Cynthia Montgomery August 01, 2011 at 02:31 PM
Ahsley, No lashing out at you or anyone, just a personal perspective from a strong minded, no nonsense, straight arrow, firm believer in family and the law writer. I liked your comments so I was asking, "SO if 18 isn't the age of reason & responsibility Ashley, when is it? DO you become a reasoning adult at 19, 20, 21, 25, 31, 45, when is it Ashley?" I was agreeing with you, as in, WHEN IS an adult an adult. Why is is that some think an 18 year old is a child when they are committing a crime but an adult in all other aspects of their lives. While this venue is amazing, at times comments can be taken out of context because you can not hear the inflection,demeanor, or sarcasm of a person's comments. After a while you can "HEAR' a person's sarcasm, questioning, sincerity, or anger because you have read them so often you know their writing style, like ED VERN. Mr Ed is great at sarcasm and there is make no mistake made when you read his comments. I "read" you as a firm, sincere,NO NONSENSE, woman with little time for lagers. Elaine strikes me a upright, caring, peace maker that wants to figure things out. I love the fact that ELAINE came back & explained her previous post instead of getting mad and never returning to this venue! I myself did not understand that post at all and thought that does not sound like Elaine. I am an eclectic commentator. Sorry for the miscue. Looking forward to your next comment. We both think NO CONSEQUENCE - NO CHANGE!
Citizen2 August 02, 2011 at 12:29 AM
More trash off the street, HOORAY
Dacula Mom August 06, 2011 at 12:27 PM
For those of you that are keeping up with the crime in Daucla. What used to be a quiet little area to raise our kids. One of the THUGS first out of jail has now been arrested again for Entering An Auto. Where arer the parents and why was he even alowed out of his house.
Kristi Reed (Editor) August 06, 2011 at 01:28 PM
If I am not mistaken, that booking is tied to the previous arrest. There was a fifth charge pending at the time of his original arrest.
Ashley Pepitone August 06, 2011 at 03:36 PM
That makes sense, Kristi. Thanks for the clarification. I know I'm not the only one hoping and praying for these young men that this experience has been a wake up call to do something good with their time!
Cynthia Montgomery August 06, 2011 at 05:11 PM
Dacula sounds like Jimmy Carter of the 80's & Pleasant Hill of the 90's! How much further out can one move to find reasonable safety. THERE IS NO WHERE ELSE TO MOVE! It is time to serve notice that Dacula & it's citizens will not put up criminals or crime. In the last few months we have had; 3 dead bodies, two "guns pointed in a face" robberies, one kidnapping, too many car hoppings & untold arrests for drunk drivers &even more abuse against each. The saddest is the death & dumping of a hard working professional mother of four by her, over 20 years together married, husband. What is happening to our community? What is happening to our families? What is happening to our children? People, the reality is there some people just think they are more important than those around them. They are know as ego centric narcissistic personalities by the mental health professionals. Couple that personality disorder with a decrease in moral values in our schools, homes,and chruches & you put a setting in place for HUGE CRIME! Without a internal compass directing people to DO THE RIGHT THING, people just do as they please. And now days in Dacula, it pleases many to; gossip, hurt, lie, cheat, steal, abuse, & even kill. What moral lessons are our children missing? Our churches are more interested providing a "FEEL GOOD PRODUCTION NUMBER" complete with Starbucks than the truth about morals. Don't offend or they may not come back with their wallets! IT IS ALL GOOD or is it?
holly August 13, 2011 at 04:35 AM
You swear you know everything about these boys but you know nothing about them. All you know is what these articles are telling you and what the Gwinnett County system tells you. Yeah, people make mistakes but they sure as hell don't need people like you looking down on them saying negative things like this especially when you have no idea what you're talking about. Nathan Best is one of the kindest, goodhearted people I know and I hope you feel terrible for singling him out and being such a sarcastic prick. Unless you know more about this you should keep your snide comments to yourself because I am sick and tired of looking at them. And everyone else saying anything about any of these boys or their families, unless you know them, just be quiet because you don't know anything from just reading this article. Yeah, they screwed up, but what in the world makes you think they need you saying these things about them? Who do you think you are? What gives you the right to say this? Do you feel better about yourself now?
Cal Jr December 16, 2012 at 08:08 AM
I personally know all four kids and their families. All but one was raised with good, moral parents. Being a teenager in dacula is actually remarkably better than most places in the USA. And carhopping, while quite immoral, is quite preventable. Lock your car and the situation is averted. Also, none of these kids were sentenced to any time in jail. All they received was a slight slap on the wrist. More likely than not this is quite fair because any jail time would result in failing high school and the destruction of their lives. I hear cries for justice but more than likely most of these guys will grow out of the phase and become productive members of society. That is generally the way it goes. Because the promotion of these sort of acts through the culture, the weak minded can be drawn to these activities. So I think justice is done by how it was handled. Also, to the numerous responders who commented in ignorance and fear, lock your car doors and reach far down into your ass and pull your head out.
Cal Jr December 16, 2012 at 08:11 AM
Also, this has nothing to do with church. It seems as though the people who mention anything around church as the problem with society are the people with the least knowledge of the inner workings of the human mind and are incompetent in social affairs.
Cynthia Montgomery December 17, 2012 at 03:46 AM
Cal Jr. It is a proven scientific fact that there is indeed a part of the brain that "lights up" when praying. Some people's brain is larger than others in this area. In society, breaking the law or being lawless is a result of not having a moral inner compass that tell you this is right or this is wrong. Churches teach this lesson & that is why people speak about churches. If your family teaches morals, right from wrong, & it has been indoctrinated into you as a child, the chances are it will carry with you throughout your life unless you have a follower personality. Any parent can tell you if their child is a leader or a follower. In order for a leader to lead, he must have followers, hence the new thugs that everyone is saying are "good kids". Thugs love to hear the cry, "They are just kids only 18!" I don't know any children that can vote, drive, go to war, or be on a jury. To say, "Lock your doors, it is your fault, they robbed because you left your door open, is like saying rape is not the rapists fault because a boy or girl is walking in the park or shopping in the mall. That logic allows a person to feel safe by saying, They were at fault, & I won't ever have that happen to me because I lock my doors. I had a neighbor that had their roof sliced 3x & their radio stolen-doors locked! The leader of this gang had been arrested before for this same crime If your son has become a follower of this leader, God help you and your man son for his childhood is OVER!
Tori March 02, 2013 at 08:20 AM
Guess what Cynthia? These boys are turning their lives around right now, but good job on being extremely judgmental & not believing in second chances for anyone. Good job on attacking anyone who even tried to stand up for those boys. They're actually making something of themselves. Sorry to disappoint you but they're not "THUGS" they're good kids & if you'd open your eyes a little bit & look past your ridiculous world, you might be able to see that. "Let whoever is without sin cast the first stone"..well, cast your stone Cynthia. Since you're so definitely sinless.
Mr. B March 02, 2013 at 01:42 PM
I only know one of these boys through my law firm. Regular visits to my law firm. Very regular visits to my law firm.


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