By  on July 9, 2009

ATLANTA — Police arrested 11 suspected “blue jeans bandits” after they were discovered cutting tags off about $10,000 worth of stolen merchandise in the backyard of a southeast Atlanta home.

Most of the merchandise, which included hundreds of pairs of jeans as well as shirts, still had labels and security tags, said Sgt. Lisa Keyes, a police spokeswoman.

The suspects — three adults and eight juveniles — are believed to have been involved in a series of robberies in the Atlanta metropolitan area that have resulted in the loss of premium denim and sportswear worth an estimated $1.5 million. More than 70 retailers, including Macy’s at the Lenox Square mall, have been hit in the last two-and-a-half years. Police dubbed the gang the “Blue Jeans Bandits.”

The three adults have been charged with burglary and theft by receiving. Charges had not been filed against the juveniles.

Police made the arrests Friday after receiving a tip. The stores whose merchandise was recovered have not been identified.

Earlier Friday, police linked two men arrested during a high-speed chase to an attempted break-in Thursday at eModa, a high-end boutique in the Midtown district of Atlanta that was robbed twice over a six-day span in May by smash-and-grab burglars.

Police believe the suspects are members of 30 Deep, a street gang linked to the denim robberies as well as the fatal shooting of an Atlanta bartender in January.

The two men face charges including criminal damage to property, felony obstruction and theft by receiving.

The burglaries have been committed by groups of masked thieves who usually smash windows or break down doors after-hours and clean out merchandise in one to three minutes, loading vans with the stolen goods before fleeing.

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