Police seeking public's help identifying burglar of Athens businesses


By Joe Johnson

Police have requested the public’s help in identifying a man who committed commercial burglaries over a two-month period in western Athens-Clarke County.

Surveillance photos of the suspect were released by police on Thursday.

According to police reports, the first burglary occurred the night of Sept. 30 at Hopewell Tire & Auto Repair on Jefferson Road.

Surveillance video footage depicted a black male wearing a white shirt and with a spider tattoo on his chest break a triple-pane glass door valued at $1,000, then enter the store where he stole a Samsung 9 cellphone valued at $800 and $400 cash, according to reports.

Next, a burglary attempt occurred a couple miles away from the repair shop, on Nov. 28 at Bootlegger’s liquor store on Tallassee Road.

According to a police report, this incident was also recorded by a surveillance camera system. Footage showed a male arrive in a Mercedes Benz sedan, then try to break the front door with a large rock.

The report noted that the man was unable to break completely through the door’s security glass and so he left.

While officers were at the scene, according to the report, a woman drove up and told them that she had been at the Shell station across the street when she heard a loud banging sound, followed by a newer model red or burgundy car leaving the store and quickly driving up Tallassee Road.

The next day, on Nov. 29, police again responded to Hopewell Tire & Auto Repair to investigate a reported burglary.

According to the police report, the thief climbed a fence and used a rock to break a glass door of an adjacent business, Georgia Pallet Rack, from which he stole nothing, and then entered the auto repair shop through a shared interior door.

The thief then stole $220 from the cash drawer, a Google Chromebook valued at $200, blank company checks and the keys to a customer’s car, in which the crook drove away, according to the police report.

The car was said by police to be a red 2007 Mercedes-Benz 500 series four-door sedan that displayed Georgia tag CRN7451 and was valued at $5,000.

Police Lt. Shaun Barnett said that all of the businesses had security cameras that captured images of the same individual.

Police asked for anyone who recognizes the suspect in the released surveillance camera images to contact Detective Erik Hogan at 762-400-7306 or erik.hogan@accgov.com.

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