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Dog catches ambulance thief

Dog catches ambulance thief

ATLANTA -- The search for a stolen American Medical Response ambulance ended with a crash in southeast Atlanta. The driver ran off in to the early morning darkness to hide in the bushes, until a police dog sniffed him out.

The ambulance, which operates out of DeKalb County, was parked at Grady Memorial Hospital when it was taken just before 3 a.m. Tuesday. Police said an EMS driver was cleaning the rear of the running vehicle when a suspect, 38-year-old Jermaine McCommons, jumped inside and drove away.

Grady Memorial Hospital officials used a GPS device inside the ambulance to track it and relay its location to police. Atlanta Police Capt. Terrell Griffin said McCommons drove the ambulance from Atlanta to Cobb County. Investigators followed, but canceled the chase when the speed became excessive.

GDOT to limit roadwork for 2 weekends

GDOT to limit roadwork for 2 weekends

(WXIA) -- Here's some good news for spring breakers and Atlanta Braves fans: road construction will be limited for the next two weekends.

The Georgia Department of Transportation announced Wednesday it will close fewer interstate lanes than usual from midnight on Friday, Apr. 3 to 5 a.m. on Monday, Apr. 6. The construction break is meant to accommodate drivers who are heading into or out of Atlanta for spring break and Easter weekend.

Lane closures will also be limited from 10 p.m. on Friday, Apr. 10 to 5 a.m. on Monday, Apr. 13, for the Braves' opening weekend at Turner Field.

Traffic throughout Georgia is expected to be heavy both weekends, and drivers are asked to be cautious.

"Also, incident management or emergency maintenance-related lane closures could become necessary on any time on any route," GDOT director of construction Jeff Baker said.

2 charged in armed robbery at Grant Park bar


ATLANTA (WXIA) -- Warrants have been issued for two suspects in an armed robbery at a Grant Park bar.

Elijah Jackson, 19, and Shawn Smith, 25, will be charged in the Apr. 1 incident at Augustine's. Both are in the DeKalb County Jail on unrelated charges.

Security footage inside the bar showed the suspects storming the venue. One robbed the bartender while the other stole from customers. It happened so fast, they barely had a chance to react.

"I came in slightly before the incident," Joe Licata said. He is a regular at Augustine's, and like many of the regulars there, he's shaken, but not shocked.

"What I saw was a very strong police response and basically people being a little bit shaken up after what had happened, and everybody pretty much cooperating with police, trying to figure out what had happened," he said.

Fulton County Police Chief to retire after 35 years of service

Fulton County Police Chief to retire after 35 years of service

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. -- Fulton County Police Chief Cassandra Jones has announced her retirement effective April 7, 2015. 

“Chief Jones will be greatly missed. Her work was a key part of our crime prevention efforts in this county,” says Chairman John H. Eaves.  “Due to her emphasis on community oriented policing, burglaries in our unincorporated area decreased by more than 22 percent during her tenure.”

Chief Jones has served with the Fulton County Police Department since December 17, 1979. She has served as Police Chief since October 9, 2007.  She is the only female to serve as Fulton County Police Chief.

“We thank Chief Jones for her 35 years of service to the citizens of Fulton County, and extend best wishes to her on her retirement,” said County Manager Dick Anderson.

Assistant Police Chief Gary D. Stiles will serve as Interim Chief until a permanent replacement is named.

Metro Atlanta unemployment drops to 6.1 percent

Metro Atlanta unemployment drops to 6.1 percent

(WXIA) -- The Atlanta area's unemployment rate was 6.1 percent in February, down from January's 6.2 percent. It was also down a full point from the rate of 7.1 percent in February 2014.

Fulton County's unemployment rate was 6.5 percent last month.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said the drop was due to fewer layoffs and more new jobs. Many of the gains came in business, construction, education, government, and leisure and hospitality.

Nearly 39 percent fewer new claims for unemployment insurance were filed in February as well.

Metro Gainesville had Georgia's lowest February unemployment rate, at 5.1 percent. The Heart of Georgia-Altamaha region had the highest, at 8.1 percent.

Weekend roadwork: The usual suspects

Weekend roadwork: The usual suspects

(WXIA) -- It's going to be "more of the same" on the Atlanta area's highways and interstates this weekend, as Georgia Department of Transportation crews take to the streets.

Drivers are asked to avoid travel on interstates 20 and 285, if possible. GDOT will close lanes in several areas, which could result in lengthy delays.

As always, all work is weather permitting.

Interstate 20

Three eastbound lanes will be closed between Langhorn and McDaniel streets from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for bridge joint repairs.

Two westbound lanes will be closed between the Downtown Connector and Langhorn Street from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for bridge joint repairs.

Two westbound lanes will be closed between Fulton Industrial Boulevard and I-285 from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for bridge joint repairs.

2 arrested, 1 tased after carjacking and chase in Atlanta

2 arrested, 1 tased after carjacking and chase in Atlanta

ATLANTA -- Two teenage suspects were arrested after a carjacking and police chase in Atlanta Thursday morning.

The carjacking occurred on Fitzgerald Street in northeast Atlanta. Police later spotted the stolen car near Turner Field and initiated a chase.

Atlanta Police said they caught up to the car at the Park Commons Apartments in the 150 block of Peyton Place in southwest Atlanta.

Four suspects tried to run; two were captured. Both were charged with auto theft, and fleeing and attempting to elude police. Because they are minors, their names have not been released.

Investigators said a third suspect was tased by police and also suffered a laceration to the head. He was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital for treatment.

Police are now searching for the fourth suspect.