By John Schaffner

Capt. Joe Hussey, who is assigned to Atlanta Fire Rescue Station 27 in northwest Buckhead, let the board of Neighborhood Planning Unit B in on some inside department chatter Aug. 4 when he said he expects Fire Chief Kelvin J. Cochran to be replaced by a temporary chief from within the department’s ranks until a new mayor is elected at the end of the year.

Responding to a question from the NPU board, Hussey said he is hearing that either Deputy Chief Huley Barry Dodson Jr. or Deputy Chief B. Nishiyama Willis, who is in charge of the department’s airport operations, is likely to be the temporary chief.

Cochran was tapped by President Barack Obama last month to become U.S. fire administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the Department of Homeland Security.

Hussey also pointed out that the headquarters for the Fire Rescue Department has moved from City Hall East on Ponce de Leon Avenue to the new public safety building near City Hall in downtown Atlanta.

In another public-safety-related matter, Atlanta police Zone 2 Sgt. Michael Harris reported on the arrest of two men and a woman at 3210 Matheson Drive, off Peachtree Road by the Wendy’s restaurant in Buckhead, who were charged with a number of crimes, including identity theft and possession of stolen goods.

Harris said it all started with the identification of 16 or 17 people who were victims of an identity theft ring.

He said the arrests were the result of a report of a burglary in progress. When officers arrived, the victim advised that he had seen someone try to come out of his attic and into his apartment.

Harris checked the attic and discovered it was like an apartment complex without walls separating it into apartments.

The sergeant found a person who fit the description of the alleged burglar, and that person’s apartment was full of stolen items. Postal inspectors were called in because the apartment included stolen mail, and the Secret Service was called in because the suspects had fraudulent checks they are accused of writing from large corporations such as Aetna. They also had a date-rape drug in their possession.

Harris said one aspect of the theft operation involved renting a storage unit in a facility and using that unit for access to break into other storage units and steal things. The thieves would load up their storage unit and could remove the items at their leisure because of their access to the facility.

Harris said Zone 2 is working the case with the Secret Service and postal inspectors.