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Hot Air Balloon Heist Uncovered Chop Shop

Atlanta Lawyer > Atlanta News  > Hot Air Balloon Heist Uncovered Chop Shop

Hot Air Balloon Heist Uncovered Chop Shop

Gwinnett police have made arrests in connection with a hot air balloon heist. They said their investigation resulted in 8 arrests and led them to a ring of thieves who they said stole cars, four-wheelers and more.The hot air balloon, which was in a trailer marked with the company logo Stairway to Heaven Hot Air Balloon, was stolen from the driveway of a Lawrenceville home. All of the equipment was worth $70,000. The couple who owned it said the trailer was gone when they showed up at the house July 4.

“The balloon is irreplaceable. It was specifically designed and made. The manufacturer is no longer in business so it’s not something I can replicate. So it hurts,” owner Rick Ferrall told Channel 2’s Amy Napier Viteri at the time.But two days later, the couple said police had found it on a Dacula farm on Stanley Road.

Police said they tracked the suspects down through various tips. Amber Spinks, 24, and Jason Gordon, 33, were arrested after they were caught riding stolen four-wheelers in Barrow County, Gwinnett police Cpl. Edwin Ritter said. He said detectives searched the area and found pieces of equipment stolen from the hot air balloon trailer. Officers also found parts of a lock that possibly belonged to the trailer at the home of 32-year-old Susan Owen, Ritter said.

The investigation also led to the arrests of Dustin Martin, 23, Brandon Steedley, 27, and Jessica Baker, 25 at a Dacula home. Ritter said they were responsible for running a chop shop. Douglas Hampton, a 23-year-old wanted on an outstanding warrant, was also arrested at the home.

Spinks father, Richard, has also been charged with stealing the hot air balloon. He remains at large.

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