Weigh Down Workshop will be back in business following raid

Review Appeal/May 20, 2004
By Melissa N. Warren

Franklin Police removed file boxes and flattened boxes after executing several search warrants in the 29-hour takeover of the Weigh Down Workshop headquarters.

"We did leave two police officers in the facility [Wednesday] night so that the building remained in our control," Deputy Chief Al Segal said. "We are finished now, and [Weigh Down] will be back to business shortly."

The beige stucco building is situated behind tall pine trees off Seaboard Lane and is the current meeting place for the Remnant Fellowship International church. Police also searched a warehouse facility on Gen. George Patton Drive but have not released what, if anything, they removed from either of the buildings.

The raid is part of an ongoing investigation by the department and occurred concurrently with another investigation by the Cobb County (Ga.) Crimes Against Children Division. The detective from that department, David Schweizer, arrived in Franklin nearly four days ago and left last night, Segal said.

"I am actively searching the building for a link to the death of an 8-year-old," Schweizer said yesterday. "His family is part of the Weigh Down Workshop."

Segal said it is procedure for an out-of-state agency to request the help of a local department in serving a search warrant but could not say whether or not the overlapping searches were related.

"These are two separate investigations," the deputy chief said.

Even though Franklin's entire criminal investigation division was present at the headquarters, Segal stressed that he was keeping an eye on the department's reports of other crimes.

"We certainly would not jeopardize any other case, but we do prioritize," he said. "Several detectives have left to go to work on other cases since we've been here."

Gwen Shamblin, the founder of both the Weigh Down Workshop and Remnant Fellowship International, was not on the premises. The few employees who were inside the building yesterday did refuse to comment, although Segal said the organization had been cooperative.

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