Burglary crew targets 9 businesses in Decatur, police say

Decatur police are searching for a group of thieves accused of targeting multiple businesses around the city early Monday morning.

Officials say at around 4:50 a.m., officers responded to a burglar alarm that was triggered on the 600 block of East Lake Drive.

When officers got to the scene, they found several businesses in the area had been burglarized. In total, officials say nine businesses were burglarized overnight.

Further investigation led officers to find more businesses that had been struck by the same group on Mead Road, West College Avenue, and East College Avenue, including Ford's BBQ.

In each case, investigators say the group, which is believed to be comprised of three people in ski masks, who were driving a black sedan, forced open glass doors and windows and targeted the businesses' cash registers. 

"Someone had told us that Paolino’s Italian had gotten broken into as well as several other businesses," Paolino’s Italian Restaurant owner Paul Newman told FOX 5. 

Investigators say the crooks appeared to be looking for cash inside registers at the businesses. 

"(I) get down here around 7:30 a.m. (and) glass is busted at the coffee shop, glass is busted here," Moxie Burger General Manager Andrew Lee told FOX 5. 

Newman says the thieves managed to steal two of his registers but did not get a dollar. 

"It seems very organized…the camera footage that we have from our other location indicates that they were in the restaurant maybe less than a minute…maybe 50 seconds," he said. 

It was the same case for Moxie Burger on Dekalb Avenue—a cashless business. The thieves likely missed the sign on the door that says they don’t accept cash. 

"It’s a huge liability if you’re taking cash payments," Lee explained. 

San Fran Coffee, Wahoo Wine and Provisions, Wahoo Grill, Oakhurst Coin Laundry, Mojo Pizza, Mezcalito’s Cantina, Los Ninos Taquiera, Fords BBQ Oakhurst and Wildheart Salon were also targeted.

While the payout for their efforts wasn’t much, the cost to those businesses wasn’t cheap. 

"The damage is a couple of thousand dollars for glass," Newman said. 

Ford's BBQ Oakhurst located at 350 Mead Road in Decatur

Lee tells FOX 5 it’s another loss as they are still recovering from the citywide water outages in Atlanta last week. 

"Six days of not having any clean potable water…that really affected business Friday and Saturday…at least $10,000 and that’s on the lower end," he said. "It hurts it really does." 

Lee says after a shaky start to the month of June, they’re hoping community support will help them bounce back. 

Investigations into the burglaries are ongoing.

If you have any information that could help detectives, call the Decatur Police Department at (678) 553-6687 or Crime Stoppers Greater Atlanta at (404)-577-8477.