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Residents unsettled by behavior of sexual predator who remains free despite arrests

Avondale Estates Crime and public safety Kirkwood and East Lake Metro ATL slideshow

Residents unsettled by behavior of sexual predator who remains free despite arrests


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Robert McKenzie. Photo provided by Clay Walker

This story has been updated. 

A known sexual predator who rides his bike around town has generated several recent calls to police from people concerned about his behavior.

Robert McKenzie, who is a convicted sex offender, also been arrested at least three times this year, records show, including at least one arrest for failing to register as a sex offender. Each time has been released from jail.

He has a lengthy arrest history going back more than a decade, and there have been numerous reports of him acting menacingly while harassing women riding on bikes or jogging.

Decatur Patch reported in 2011 that McKenzie had been arrested in Norfolk, Va. in 2002 for “exposing himself and then beginning to masturbate in front of an 11- and 26-year-old at a local beach.” According to the Georgia Sex Offender Registry, McKenzie was convicted in Virginia in 2004 of taking indecent liberties with a child.

Atlanta Police arrested in him 2010 after he approached a woman on freedom parkway. He had been seen following a different woman during her runs, according to an Atlanta Journal Constitution article. He was arrested on charges of carrying a knife longer than 3 inches. According to the AJC, “The [arresting] officer also disposed of ‘contaminated’ rags and pornographic pictures that McKenzie had in his pockets” at the time of the arrest.

In 2011 he was accused of touching a child at Glenlake Pool in Decatur and he was subsequently arrested. The family declined to file a police report at the time, but the arrest violated the terms of his probation. Decatur Police Lt. Jennifer Ross testified at his probation revocation hearing and said his probation was revoked. He served the remainder of his sentence and was released in 2013.

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Last May, 2016, Avondale Estates sent out a warning to residents about McKenzie after he was spotted riding through the neighborhood riding his bicycle and yelling. Police said at the time, “The subject is not currently wanted, but is being supervised by the Fulton County Probation Department. The Probation Department has stated the only current restrictions the subject has is wearing an ankle bracelet (tracking device) and he cannot live in the same dwelling where a minor (under 18) is living.” Last October, McKenzie was stopped by Clarkston Police after chasing a female cyclist but was not arrested.

Photo of Robert McKenzie following a female cyclist. Photo provided by Clay Walker

The reports about McKenzie have continued since that incident. In February, a woman told Atlanta Police she was running down the street on DeKalb Avenue and McKenzie allegedly threw a bottle in her direction, but the bottle did not hit her. She reported it to police in case it happened again. In March, Atlanta Police arrested him on charges of disorderly conduct while under the influence of alcohol. According to a police report, McKenzie was at 1001 Ponce de Leon Avenue and “acting in a very violent manner, swinging sticks at cars and vehicles.” He allegedly told police he was “mad at family and tired.”

According to Fulton County jail records and the DeKalb County Police Department, he was arrested on April 7, 2017, on a warrant for failing to register as a sex offender. A DeKalb Police spokesperson said, “He was seen tampering with mailboxes at an apartment complex.” Fulton County jail records show he was released on April 13.

In July, another woman contacted Atlanta Police concerning an encounter with McKenzie. She said she was standing on the sidewalk at Freedom Park and a man walked up beside her, making her feel uncomfortable.

“She stated that he immediately began waving a t-shirt that was in his hand at her in an aggressive manner towards her making her feel fearful for her safety,” the police report says. The man was identified as McKenzie. The woman told police that he “continued the aggressive manner towards her and when she realized that she was in harm’s way she took off running and he returned to the path in the park.” She said other people in the park had previously witnessed similar behavior.

On Sept. 18, 2017, McKenzie was arrested again, this time in Avondale Estates for public intoxication and an open container violation. According to jail records, he was released on Sept. 25 but was then booked into the Fulton County Jail that same day. The jail’s website also indicates he was transferred there for failure to register as a sex offender, but there were no additional details about why he was transferred there.

In an email, a spokesperson for the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office said, “Mr. McKenzie is in compliance with the Sex Offender Registry. He was released on 10-9-17 from the Fulton County Jail to the Department of Community Supervision and required to have an ankle monitor. DCS is the new name for Probation. Since he has been living in DeKalb his case is being transferred to that county.”

Decaturish has reached out to the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office for comment and will update this story when the DA’s Office responds.

The reports about McKenzie haven’t stopped.

Decatur Police said a woman contacted them about a recent incident but was referred to the Avondale Estates Police since it was in their jurisdiction. On the Bike Commuters of Atlanta Facebook group, a cyclist said he encountered McKenzie on Oct. 16 at Freedom Park.

“He was following a woman riding her bike and when I realized who he was/what was happening I turned around to double check,” the cyclist said. “He glared at me and mumbled something when I first passed him (that was what got my attention) then he noticed me observing the situation and decided to ride towards me at a high rate of speed. I let him follow me to N. Highland then I crossed into traffic and he bolted down Highland heading south.”

Decatur Police said they don’t have any current investigations related to McKenzie. Avondale Estates Police Chief Lynn Thomas said he is unsure why McKenzie continues to be released from jail despite his history and subsequent arrests related to his sex offender status.

“That’s something I guess the Fulton County Sheriff will have to answer,” Thomas said. “It’s a concern, no doubt. It’s a concern.”

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