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PUBLIC SAFETY

While increasing patrols in Forsyth, sheriff's office asks parents for help with problem of rowdy teens

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Hickory Point Mall file photo

Hickory Point Mall is shown. Owner CBL & Associates Properties has indicated it plans to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the fall.

FORSYTH — The Macon County Sheriff's Office is asking parents of teens who visit Hickory Point Mall on weekends to help ensure they don't cause problems at the mall or surrounding businesses. 

Deputies have responded to a spike in calls for service at the mall and surrounding business in recent weeks, Sheriff Tony Brown said in a statement released Thursday. More deputies will be patrolling the area in response. 

But parents can help, too. 

"We ask the parents to make sure the teens are either supervised by a responsible adult or talk to them about being safe and responsible while they are out enjoying their weekend," Brown said. 

The Herald & Review reported on Monday that the sheriff's office had met with Forsyth village officials and was considering ways to step up the presence of law enforcement. Brown said some parents were dropping off their children at the mall "like it's babysitting" and might be unaware of what the teens were doing until they were picked up. He described the trouble as mostly yelling, foul language and disruptive behavior. 

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Brown's statement on Thursday elaborated on the nature of the calls, saying deputies have taken reports on damage to a vehicle at one business and verbal assault of an employee at another. The sheriff's office has also received complaints about groups of teens walking in the road and causing traffic hazards. 

Gary Birschbach, who owns the McDonald’s restaurant in Forsyth, told the Herald & Review on Monday that he was considering adding security guards for the restaurant. He said a member of his staff had been physically assaulted. 


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Contact Kennedy Nolen at (217) 421-6985. Follow her on Twitter: @KNolenWrites

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