By Joe Johnson
A homeless man was arrested Monday morning when police caught him carrying a bag full of cash and a bottle of liquor from a bar in downtown Athens he had broken into.
The cash consisted of paper currency on which patrons of Boar’s Head Lounge had written their names and was taped to the walls.
According to Athens-Clarke County police, an officer was on patrol shortly before 8 a.m. when he was flagged down by people who said had just seen a man break a glass door and enter the bar on East Washington Street.
The officer reported that while waiting for backup to arrive, 58-year-old Roger Bailey, wearing a ski mask, exited the establishment and approached him in the alley, at which time the officer drew his gun and ordered him to get on the ground and drop a Georgia bag that he was carrying, from which some cash was sticking out. When a backup officer arrived, Bailey was placed in handcuffs and his bag was found to be filled with dollar bills with names written on them and taped together, according to the report, along with a bottle of Jim Beam bourbon.
Bailey reportedly also had a backpack with him that contained pliers, gloves, a lug wrench and a glass pipe for smoking drugs. When clearing the bar for possible other suspects, the officer noticed that dollar bills were taped all over the place, including on walls, support poles and other surfaces, and that they were “like the ones found inside the tan Georgia bag that Bailey was carrying.”
The thief was arrested on charges of second-degree burglary and possession of tools for the commission of a crime, police said.
While officers remained at the scene, the bar’s owners arrived to confirm that the money and bourbon belonged to them. Police said that one of them used his cellphone to show an officer surveillance camera footage that captured Bailey using the lug wrench to smash the glass front door and then enter the business where he walked around pulling bills from where they were taped and taking the bottle of liquor from behind the bar.
When inventoried the cash that was in the Georgia bag was found to include 126 $1 bills and two $5 bills, police said.
Though said by police to be homeless, Bailey was booked into the county jail with an address on Clark Drive in Winterville. As of Tuesday afternoon, he continued to be detained without bail being set for his release.