Authorities have captured two of the three suspects believed to have stalked a mother and daughter while they shopped at Walmart on Thornton Road in Lithia Springs, then followed them to their Douglasville home where they robbed the women at gunpoint.
Baruch Benyamin, 22, of Austell and Chad Amir Washington, 22, of Powder Springs appeared in Douglas County Magistrate Court Thursday charged with two counts of armed robbery. Benyamin, the alleged gunman is also charged with two counts of aggravated assault, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime. After identifying the two suspects, investigators executed a search warrant on a Cobb County residence Wednesday where they located the defendants.
Sheriff's Investigator Trent Wilson also obtained information that may soon lead to the identity of the third suspect.
According to sheriff's office, a 32-year-old woman and her 53-year-old mother were watched by three men, who waited for them to leave the store on Aug. 13. Surveillance video from the store shows the men watching the women, even following them closely out of the store.
It appears the three men went into Walmart looking for someone to rob, according to Wilson. They are apparently seen on video looking at the the victims as they pay for their items at the register. They circle around then sit down and wait for them to finish paying for the items.
The men followed the women to their residence on Highland Hills Parkway in Douglasville, following them more than 10 miles in the process. As the women were routinely unloading groceries from their car, they left the front door of the residence open between trips.
That's when investigators say Benyamin entered into the residence and put a gun to the mother's head. He demanded money and when the women told him that they didn't have any, he told them to empty their pockets. He then took the leather purse from one of the women and left the residence.
Authorities say a cell phone taken was later dumped by the suspects. The store video shows the three males following the woman out of the store and catches them leaving in a dark blue vehicle.
"We were able to look at the tag from the getaway car a little closer and we were able to determine three letters in the tag," Wilson said. "We was able to determine that it had Cobb down at the bottom and from that we able to get with the GBI to do an offline search and to check all the cars that we were looking for in Cobb County."
After identifying the car, investigators spoke with the owner who let them know she allowed the suspects to use the vehicle the night of the robbery.
Benyamin was convicted on March 15, 2010 in Cobb County of aggravated assault, according to testimony in his bond hearing.
Washington was identified as a passenger in the vehicle Benyamin was driving as they followed the victims home. Camp denied bond saying the defendants were a danger to the community and likely to commit a felony.
Images and information gathered gives Wilson reason to believe this isn't something that is new to these suspects. While the suspects haven't been tied with any other armed robberies in the area, investigators are working with some other jurisdictions on cases that they may have been involved in.