Dacula teenagers arrested in alleged car break-ins

Nathan Best, Stephen Griffin, Duncan Grove, Christopher Krawiec

Nathan Best, Stephen Griffin, Duncan Grove, Christopher Krawiec

DACULA — Four Dacula teenagers have been arrested for their alleged connection with at least four car break-ins, and police are investigating their possible involvement in a larger string of similar crimes in the Hamilton Mill area.

Nathan Best, 17, Stephen Griffin, 17, Duncan Grove, 18, and Christopher Krawiec, 19, were booked into Gwinnett County Jail Thursday and charged with four counts apiece of entering auto, a felony. Gwinnett police were led to them by a strange sequence of events, spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith said Friday.

Officers stumbled upon a vehicle containing the quartet’s supposed bounty late Wednesday night, easily seeing a number of GPS devices and cellphones strewn across the backseat, Smith said.

Because of a string of at least 14 car break-ins in the Hamilton Mill area in June, the officers were “very aware of the problem and it was at the top of their minds,” Smith said.

Police staked out the car and, when Best, Griffin, Grove and Krawiec arrived, confronted them. The teenagers fled on foot and officers were not able to detain them, Smith said.

At about 6 a.m. Thursday, however, a concerned resident called police to report that she saw “three guys loitering and possibly sleeping in the common area” of her neighborhood off Auburn Road. Officers responded and found Grove, Griffin and Krawiec there, arresting them at the scene, Smith said.

Best was not there but later turned himself in, Smith said.

As of Friday afternoon, police had been able to track down at least four victims, Smith said, most by simply activating the stolen GPS devices and pressing “Home.” More charges could follow, and police are investigating the teenagers’ possible role in the series of Hamilton Mill break-ins, Smith said.

“They will certainly be looked at for everything that happened in there,” Smith said.

Schools spokesman Jorge Quintana confirmed that Best is a student at Mountain View High School, while Griffin is at student at Dacula High.