By Joe Johnson
A trio of suspects was recently indicted for ransacking and looting a neighborhood grocery store in east Athens more than a year ago.
According to Athens-Clarke County police, more than $24,000 in merchandise and property were stolen from Food Express, located at 151 Nellie B. Ave.
The thieves virtually cleaned out the store and caused extensive damage.
A police incident report noted that the thieves stole, among other things, two cash registers and a bank bag that contained a total of $13,000 cash, dozens of cartons of cigarettes and boxes of cigars, lighters, digital scales, clothing items, frozen foods, candy and snacks, lottery tickets, a credit card terminal, laundry items and over-the-counter medications.
The thieves did considerable damage to the store’s interior when ripping out and stealing its security system, according to the police report.
Power to the store reportedly was cut before entry was made by forcing open a back door between 10 p.m. Dec. 23 and 8 a.m. Dec. 24, 2019.
Police subsequently arrested Timothy Maurice Elder, 41, of Fairview Street, Garland Alan Paschal Jr., 48, of Ashmore Drive and Tiffany Ridgeway, 42, of Rose Street, charging each with felony theft by taking and second-degree burglary.
When the case was presented to a grand jury on June 15, jurors charged each of the defendants with only second-degree burglary, according to the indictment that was filed in Clarke County Superior Court.
All are free on bond while awaiting their scheduled July 21 arraignments.