By Joe Johnson
Athens-Clarke police said they were investigating three commercial burglaries that occurred in a recent three-day period,
Two of the burglaries happened early Sunday morning when thieves broke into the El Bajio Tienda Mexicana grocery store on Commerce Road and L.A. Nails on Atlanta Highway, according to police.
Both businesses were entered through back doors that were forced open, police said; the thieves fled from the grocery store when an alarm sounded, and burglars stole about $300 cash and an iPad from the nail salon. Video surveillance footage captured images of two people wearing hoodies exiting a black sedan prior to entering the salon, police said.
The third burglary, at the 76 gas station on Alps Road, was discovered at about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, when a man who lived in the area was walking by and noticed that a garage door was wide open and called 911, police said.
Wet tire tracks indicated that a vehicle partially entered the gas station’s service bay, according to a police report. When the owner arrived, he determined that three or four batteries were stolen from his business. He said he would notify police if he discovered that more property had been stolen.
When police searched the area, they located a man who was behaving suspiciously in the Beechwood Plaza shopping center across the street from the gas station, where nearly all the businesses were closed.
The man, who initially refused to identify himself, was identified as 30-year-old Travis C. Johnson, a homeless person who was wanted by authorities in DeKalb County on a drug charge, according to the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office.
Though it had been raining, a police report noted that Johnson wore a pair of dry mechanic’s pants.
Police spokesman Geof Gilland said detectives were reviewing evidence to determine if any of the commercial burglaries were related.