SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A citizen’s tip has lead Port Wentworth Police to a convicted felon and stolen weapons.
There’s also a connection to a current Savannah Police Department (SPD) officer who has since been placed on administrative leave.
It started at Sandy Point Way and Blackberry Lane in Port Wentworth on Dec. 5, when an alert neighbor called police after seeing a car sitting in the same place for more than an hour.
“Somebody called, okay?” the Port Wentworth officer told Eric Maholmes.
“Do me a favor, take your hand away from that gun. As a matter of fact, I’m just going to take it real quick and set it on top of the car,” the officer is heard on body camera footage saying.
The 22-year-old Maholmes is a convicted felon, and the gun in his lap was one of three found in the car that night.
“Three firearms that were later found out to be stolen from the Savannah-Chatham County area as well as North Carolina,” explains Port Wentworth Detective Jeffrey McMurry. “(It was) very dangerous. These firearms could have used in shootings within the area. So there’s no telling where and what could have happened, what he was about to do.”
The officer also smelled marijuana in the car and a search discovered some. The officer also said Maholmes apparently tried to hide more in his mouth.
“Yeah you are also eating it,” he told Maholmes. “You are not going to sit there and eat marijuana.”
Three men were arrested: Maholmes, 18-year-old Naquan Solomon and 17-year-old Brandon Jones.
Maholmes was already a convicted felon, jailed for burglary and theft charges in 2014. Port Wentworth Police say he was not a direct suspect in any crimes in their area but had been under surveillance by law enforcement in the past.
Now, SPD, Chatham County and Richmond Hill police departments are all part of the investigation into the stolen weapons.
“Without the community, in this case, Maholmes wouldn’t be behind bars right now?” News 3 asked.
“Correct,” said McMurry.
But the story isn’t done there.
According to a second police report, filed the next day, a call came into police asking them to come to the Maholmes home on Milsbury Lane.
Police say they found more stolen property.
“That property included four firearms; two were reported stolen out of Savannah or Port Wentworth area,” said McMurry. “Approximately 100 rounds of ammunition, three social security cards, a checkbook and a cable box that did not belong to Maholmes.”
All of those guns, according to the report, were loaded with a bullet in the chamber. There were also “numerous” rounds of ammunition found in his room.
“The occupants of the residence where Maholmes was staying at,” explains McMurry, “They wanted to give up the property.”
“Somehow they ended up looking through his room, don’t know how, why,” he added. “But they went through the room and found the additional property that looked suspicious to them.”
The woman Maholmes had been living with, described as a “family member” in the report, was Nicole Khaalis.
“The person that was living with him in that house was, is a Savannah Police officer?” New 3 asked.
“She is,” said McMurry.
Khaalis is an internal affairs sergeant with the Savannah Police Department.
An officer living with a convicted felon who is committing crimes is against the law.
On Wednesday, Savannah Police told News 3 there is an active internal affairs investigation ongoing, as is protocol.
Khaalis has been placed on administrative leave with pay, the department said.