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Masked man barges into sleeping UGA student's home

Three University of Georgia students are taking extra precautions after one of them woke up to find a stranger in her bedroom.

Police arrested three men and believe they're responsible for several recent break-ins.

"I was definitely scared," UGA student Allison Ahlers told Channel 2 Action News.

Ahlers said one of her roommates woke up to a stranger in their home, less than five minutes from campus.

"She was asleep and he opened her door and she thought it was me," Ahlers said.

Athens police said two men entered the house early Thursday morning through an unlocked door. One of them crept upstairs into the bedroom of Ahlers' roommate, who was asleep.

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"Your home is your sanctuary and you want to be able to go in your home and not worry about a stranger entering into your home," Athens-Clarke County Police Officer Epifanio Rodriguez said.

Ahlers' roommate was startled when she heard a strange man's voice. That scared the intruder. He and his accomplice took off with a stolen computer, camera and cash, police said.

When the victim called police, officers swarmed the neighborhood and approached two men who were wandering the street.

"Their stories did not match they were giving officers. For instance, they told the officers they were coming to visit their cousin who lives in the area, were able to provide the officers with the cousin's first name, however said they didn't know their cousin's last name," Rodriguez said.

Officers arrested the two and later linked them to several recent car break-ins in the area.

"It was better knowing it wasn't just us, of course. We felt bad for everyone but you know, not being the only ones targeted and being watched, felt a little better," Ahlers said.

Police also arrested a third person who had the stolen merchandise in his home. Ahlers and her roommates got most of their stuff back. She said they've added a security system and will lock their doors from now on.

Armed robber hits 2 fast-food restaurants in 1 night

Priscilla Bradford, a worker at Burger King in Loganville, had almost finished her shift when a man walked in with a gun.

"He said this is not a game," Bradford said. "I saw the gun right when he was walking up to me."

Bradford is one of two workers speaking out for the first time after being held at gunpoint by a robber who hit two restaurants in one night.

Bradford told  Channel 2’s Audrey Washington  that the man calmly walked in, took out a gun and demanded cash Sunday around 10 p.m.

Surveillance video showed the gunman jumping the counter and forcing the employee from the back to the register up front.

"She first told him she couldn't do it, a manager had to do it," Bradford said. "He said don't play with me, open up the register."

Bradford says she heard the gun click when the other worker could not open the register fast enough.

Bradford said she was scared.

"Any wrong move that night and I could've been hurt, I could've been dead and not here for my children," Bradford said.

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The other employee finally got the register open. The gunman grabbed the cash and took off, but he wasn't done.

Police said the man also robbed a nearby KFC that same night.

"I am shocked, I cant believe this happened in Loganville of all places," Bradford said.

Bradford says she got a good look at the man. Loganville police said the man is about 5’9”, weighs 180 pounds with facial hair and one distinctive feature.

"Something is wrong with one of his eyes, his left eye more than anything," Bradford said.

Bradford told Channel 2's Audrey Washington she thinks the guy scoped out the restaurants well before the robberies. In the meantime, she said she will remain on edge until this guy is off the streets.

"Keep your eyes open and your ears open because you never know," Bradford said.

Police have stepped up their patrols the Burger King and the KFC. Anyone who recognizes the armed robber is urged to call the police. 

Uber Eats driver claims self defense in shooting that killed customer, attorney says

An Uber Eats driver who police said shot and killed a customer turned himself in Monday afternoon.

Only Channel 2's Tom Jones was there when Robert Bivines, 37, arrived at the jail with his attorney. The Atlanta Police Department's Homicide Unit secured an arrest warrant for felony murder on Monday.

The shooting happened at a condominium on Pharr Road in Buckhead Saturday night.

Police said Ryan Thornton ordered food from Uber Eats and the driver delivered the food around 11:30 p.m. At some point, authorities said words were exchanged between Thornton and the driver.

The Uber Eats driver then shot the 30-year-old, police said.

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Thornton died at Grady Memorial Hospital. 

Bivines' attorney, Jackie Patterson, calls this a case of self-defense.

"This is a case where my client had no choice but to defend himself," he said.

Patterson said Thornton was irate that it took a while for his food to arrive. He said Thornton was aggressive and as Bivines walked away, Thornton made a threatening move.    

"He turned around put his hand in his pocket and said, 'I'm going to (bleep) you up,'" Patterson said.

Patterson said Bivines was afraid to wait to see what Thornton had in his pocket so he said he defended himself.

Jones asked Patterson why his client, who had only been on the job less than a week, didn't just drive away.

"You can't drive away when someone is coming at you with your window down," Patterson said.

Bivines will be taken to the Fulton County Jail.

He will have a first appearance before a judge on Tuesday.

Uber sent Channel 2 Action News a statement on Monday saying Bivens no longer has access to the app:

“We are shocked and saddened by this senseless act of violence and our hearts go out to Ryan’s friends and family. We have been working with the Atlanta Police Department, and the driver can no longer access the app”

A spokesperson for Uber told Channel 2 Action News Bivens passed a background check and had only been an Uber Eats driver for about a week. Bivens was an Uber Eats delivery partner only and did not drive passengers.

Uber is working closely with the Atlanta Police Department on this investigation.

I was the only reporter on the scene as the Uber Eats driver accused of murdering a customer turned himself in. Why he says he opened fire. That’s coming up at 5. @wsbtv pic.twitter.com/hqDoK5meMR — Tom Jones (@TomJonesWSBTV) February 19, 2018

Morehouse College sent a statement saying: 

"The Morehouse College community is mourning the passing of Ryan Thornton who was was shot Saturday in Atlanta after ordering a late dinner from UberEATS, according to police reports.   "Thornton, 30, was a recent graduate of Morehouse College. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in May 2017, and had started a new job.   "Morehouse faculty, staff, and administrators on Monday were shocked and saddened by the news of Thornton’s death. Employees in Morehouse College’s admissions office said they worked closely with Thornton and described him as being friendly, hard-working, and determined to become a Morehouse Man.    "President David A. Thomas said that the Morehouse community stands at the ready to support Thornton’s family during this difficult time.   “The loss of another young life to gun violence is tragic,” Thomas said. “Ryan was an ambitious student with so much promise. He was well-respected by his peers and highly regarded by his professors. We at Morehouse College will keep Ryan's family in our thoughts and prayers.”  

Your commute could be getting brighter in metro Atlanta

Some local counties are making a change to brighter street lights. 

Neighborhoods across Cobb, Fulton, Paulding, Bartow and Cherokee counties will get LEDs that Cobb EMC spokesperson Leslie Thompson says will make seeing and driving around when it’s dark easier.

“With the new lights, they have a 10-year warranty, so you’re looking at much more span of time before they need any maintenance,” Thompson said.

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The idea came from the Cobb County EMC. The goal is to make the switch to LEDs and increase safety.

“The roads are brighter. It’s easier for people to see while they’re driving,” Thompson said.

Thompson said it is a small change with big benefits. “Some are larger lights in parking lots and ones you see on roadsides and as customers start driving, they’ll noticing roads and parking lots looking a bit brighter and it’s those new lights,” Thompson said.

“The new lights are able to communicate with our power control center, so, if a light goes out, it automatically alerts us,” Thompson added.

The plan is to switch out 60,000 streetlights to brighter and more efficient LED lights, over the next 5 years.

Your commute could be getting brighter in metro Atlanta

Some local counties are making a change to brighter street lights. 

Neighborhoods across Cobb, Fulton, Paulding, Bartow and Cherokee counties will get LEDs that Cobb EMC spokesperson Leslie Thompson says will make seeing and driving around when it’s dark easier.

“With the new lights, they have a 10-year warranty, so you’re looking at much more span of time before they need any maintenance,” Thompson said.

TRENDING STORIES:

The idea came from the Cobb County EMC. The goal is to make the switch to LEDs and increase safety.

“The roads are brighter. It’s easier for people to see while they’re driving,” Thompson said.

Thompson said it is a small change with big benefits. “Some are larger lights in parking lots and ones you see on roadsides and as customers start driving, they’ll noticing roads and parking lots looking a bit brighter and it’s those new lights,” Thompson said.

“The new lights are able to communicate with our power control center, so, if a light goes out, it automatically alerts us,” Thompson added.

The plan is to switch out 60,000 streetlights to brighter and more efficient LED lights, over the next 5 years.

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