Several East Atlanta businesses burglarized; owners call it recurring problem

Some business owners in East Atlanta woke up to smashed windows and stolen items. They're frustrated and angry and say this isn't the first time something like this has happened and something needs to be done about it.

"My windows had been busted out and someone came in," said Cononsechia Lee, owner of She Rare.

When Lee saw someone had broken into her boutique, she was devastated.

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"For someone to come in and violate me that way is just wrong," said Lee.

Emerald City Bagels also had a smashed window, as did Gate City Tattoo.

But here in East Atlanta, people look out for each other.

Lee says two women saw a man break in, and ran across the street to the fire station for help.

"I couldn't let this happen," said Capt. Claude Person with Atlanta Fire.

Capt. Person kept an eye on the man until police could capture him.

"I was just trailing him to make sure he didn't get away. I stayed a safe distance, so he didn't see me," said Capt. Person.

Police arrested a man named Erick Jackson. He is charged with three counts of burglary and three counts of criminal damage to property.

But many say it won't solve the bigger problem of break-ins and vandalism that's been happening, often, they say, at the hands of people with mental illness.

"Sometimes those individuals fall between the cracks. They get arrested and released, sometimes the same day," said Atlanta City Council member Liliana Bakhtiari.

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Bakhtiari is determined to find out how to help these individuals while at the same time make sure neighbors and small businesses feel safe.

"I just want to make sure that at the end of the day, my neighborhood, my constituents feel supported and heard," said Bakhtiari.

In the meantime, the community is coming together to support those businesses that were hit Thursday morning.

"Our business owners just need us to be there, so come out and buy a book, a drink, get a tattoo, they really need us now," said Chase Miller, President of the East Atlanta Community Association.