When two repo men arrived at a neighborhood in Athens on Wednesday, they found their car, but they also knew there are risks in repossessing cars.
And on this night when they sought to repossess a 2011 Honda Accord, they were met with gunfire, according to Athens-Clarke police.
“It doesn’t happen often,” repo man Michael Wilson of Loganville said in a telephone interview. “I’ve been doing this for 12 years and this is the third time it’s happened.”
“It’s a risk, but I’m glad nobody got hurt,” he said.
Wilson and his partner initially located the Honda, which was equipped with a GPS, on Berlin Street off North Avenue, but Wilson said they decided not to do anything because of the number of people in the area.
Later, about 2:30 a.m., they tracked the car to Loblolly Lane in north Athens off Freeman Drive, according to police.
They waited about 40 minutes, and Wilson said that as they approached the car he heard the motor start.
“I was going to inform him we had an order for repossession,” Wilson said. But the car “gassed off,” almost hitting Wilson’s co-worker and their van. The car drove to a nearby intersection and stopped.
“We heard three gunshots,” said Wilson, who sought safety in the nearby woods while his co-worker dropped to the ground.
When police arrived, an officer reported finding three 40 mm shell casings, where the victims said the car had stopped.
Because the car had a GPS tracker, police located the car at Bethel Homes, where the driver exited and fled on foot. Unable to capture the suspect, police brought in a K-9 tracking dog, but it also was unable to locate the suspect.
Police searched the car and located mail belonging to the suspect, along with what appeared to be heroin and methamphetamine, according to police.
Police have identified the 28-year-old Athens man and are pursuing warrants charging him with two counts of aggravated assault.