After getting some valuable assistance from two alert citizens, Dalton Police Department officers and investigators were able to track down and arrest two suspects after a Friday morning burglary. Michael Rodriguez, 20, of 604 Frazier Drive and Martin Ortega, 23, of 805 Stillwater Drive are both charged with one count each of burglary.
The incident happened this morning shortly after 8 am when two witnesses reported seeing a green Jeep Cherokee drive up to the Abundant Life Baptist Church at 811 J&J Drive. One of the suspects, later identified as Michael Rodriguez, got out of the car and walked through the woods behind the church into the back yard of a house at 900 Frazier Drive. Witnesses called 911 as the suspect began to kick the back door in and entered the residence. As officers responded to the scene, one of the witnesses apparently spooked the suspect who was in the Jeep as they got the vehicle’s tag number, who moved into the driver’s seat and fled the scene. Officers tracked Rodriguez through the woods, finding where he dumped his gray sweatshirt and burgundy sweat pants. An officer nearby spotted him walking on a sidewalk wearing shorts and stopped him. Both witnesses were able to positively identify him as the suspect who kicked in the door.
Investigators then began to search for the Jeep Cherokee. It was found parked at a nearby apartment complex, but investigators couldn’t find Ortega. After running the vehicle’s tag, officers were able to get into contact with Ortega by phone. He agreed to surrender to authorities.
Officers were able to recover a leaf blower, DVD player, more than 30 DVDs, binoculars, and a speaker which had been taken from the residence. One of the witnesses saw Rodriguez dump it near the woods as officers arrived.