'Jack Boys' conviction brings relief to neighborhood - KMSP-TV

'Jack Boys' conviction brings relief to neighborhood

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ATLANTA -

Residents in the Virginia Highland neighborhood said they are thrilled to hear that three men were found guilty in a violent crime spree in the area.

A jury found 19-year-old Tamario Wise, 18-year-old Robert Veal and 21-year-old Fernandez Whatley guilty Thursday in a series of crimes that occurred two years ago. The three, known as the "Jack Boys," were accused of numerous crimes, including murder, rape, armed robbery, aggravated assault, home invasion and kidnapping.

Kay Stephenson, a street captain for the neighborhood watch in Virginia Highland, says the crime spree gripped residents.

"Because this was sort of a random situation, that made it that much more scary," said Stephenson said.

The Jack Boys reign directly led to unprecedented participation in the neighborhood watch.

"I guess as the neighborhood watch coordinator, I had to somewhat view this as the silver lining in a cloud that hung over the neighborhood," said John Wolfinger.

The number of residents who signed up for email crime alerts tripled and the program that pays for off-duty police officers to patrol the area, also grew.

"It's really a dramatic, dramatic change," said Stephenson.

All that extra attention has continued to pay off. Recently when a police description of a man who was wanted for home break-ins in this area went out on social media, a woman happened to see the guy on her street. She called 911 and police arrested him right away.

"I think we're far more aware of what's going on around us every day," said Wolfinger.

Residents said that they feel safer because they know how to not make themselves open to crime and they feel they can protect themselves a little better.

The three convicted men could face decades behind bars.

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