Suspects Arrested in Distraction Thefts

Quality work by the Maryland State Police led to the capture of two alleged thieves believed to be responsible for jewelry store distraction thefts in at least eight states over several years, according to Jewelers’ Security Alliance.

Quinton Antoine Garrus, 44, and Dwayne A. Ballard, 48, were arrested by the Maryland State Police State Apprehension Team as they were leaving a motel in the Baltimore suburb of Timonium, said JSA vice president Robert Frank.

Garrus and Ballard, allegedly sometimes aided by a woman, are wanted in connection with robberies in New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Michigan, California, Connecticut, Tennessee, and Iowa. They also are implicated in similar robberies in other East Coast states, JSA said. A robbery committed in West Des Moines, Iowa, was the subject of a JSA newsletter in May 2006.

Frank told JCK that while the apprehension team state unit did an “excellent” job, the arrest was largely due to the work of team member trooper Byram Hunt.

Acting on a lead, Hunt located the two suspects and then alerted the rest of the unit, whose responsibility is to track down and arrest wanted felons.

“He was the moving force behind this case,” Frank said. “They received a tip regarding a vehicle they were using. He went out himself and canvassed the area trying to locate the vehicle, and it was parked at a Red Roof hotel. He called for backup, and they joined him and put the place under surveillance. Eventually Mr. Garrus walked out of one of the rooms to his vehicle, and behind him was Mr. Ballard. They were getting ready to leave town.”

Frank said one of the reasons Garrus and Ballard have been difficult to capture is that they never stay at one place for more than two days. He said if the team had arrived an hour later, the troopers would have missed their opportunity to make the arrest.