Police apprehend suspected gang member allegedly associated with burglaries, a car theft and illegal drugs.
In a Wednesday Recorder's Court hearing, Jermichael Bellamy, 21, pleaded not guilty to violation of the street gang terrorism and prevention act, possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, theft by taking motor vehicle, obstruction, theft by receiving stolen property and theft by deception.
Bellamy was placed in the Muscogee County Jail under bonds totaling $37,000.
The case was bound over to Superior Court.
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On Monday at about 9:30 p.m., police were patrolling the area near the intersection of 27th Street and 14th Avenue when they noticed Bellamy on a bike loitering in the roadway, an officer told the court. They conducted a traffic stop at the intersection to question Bellamy about the loitering, but he fled the scene on foot, according to the official's testimony.
After a short chase, officers took Bellamy into police custody and searched him.
Authorities allegedly found a clear plastic bag filled with five pieces of crack cocaine tucked behind Bellamy's left ear and $207 in the suspect's possession, according to police.
He was arrested on the scene.
After further investigation, Columbus Police Cpl. Nathan Tooley began to suspect that Bellamy is a member of the "5150/Taliban" gang. The criminal group has been known to commit to various offenses in the Columbus and Lee County, Ala. area, including burglaries, armed robbers, vehicle theft and more.
Tooley believes Bellamy was also involved in the Feb. 23. car theft in which a gray 2014 Jeep Cherokee was stolen.
The owner of the vehicle told police that she left her jeep parked in her driveway and was headed toward her house when she noticed two men enter the automobile. She ran after the thieves as they left the driveway in her jeep, but a stolen white Dodge Avenger reportedly cut her off, Tooley said.
Tooley told the court that he received a Feb. 24 phone call from a woman with the Wild Bill's Jewelry & Pawn on Buena Vista Road. The caller told police that she saw a post on a Columbus neighborhood watchers group's Facebook page about the Feb. 23 car theft, and she has heard about the rash of thefts in Lee County, Ala.
Tooley visited the pawn shop to continue to his conversation with the woman. She said four men carrying a bed sheet carrying more than 100 Xbox games and at least 50 PlayStation games entered the store and pawned the games for $120.
The woman showed Tooley a surveillance video of the exchange and a receipt that allegedly showed Bellamy's signature and thumb print on the a receipt for the sell.
Bellamy, Marquavious Scott and Tremell Parker were identified as three of the four men who entered the store, and the other man has not been identified. Police suspect that all four men are part of the "5150/ Taliban" gang.
Tooley said he recalled a Lee County burglary in which a woman told police that all of her son's Xbox 360 games and her bed sheet were taken from her home.
Police contacted the woman and showed her the Wild Bill's video surveillance. She recognized the games and bed sheet as the items taken from her place, Tooley said.
Police said they later discovered a social media video that shows the same four men who allegedly pawned the stolen games in a car throwing money in the air. One is holding a firearm in the video, and Bellamy is seen in the back seat, according to Tooley.
Bellamy did not testify in court Wednesday.
Scott and Parker have also been arrested and charged for various crimes, including the Lee County burglary.