Columbus Police Search for "Bubble Gum Bandit" -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Columbus Police Search for "Bubble Gum Bandit"

By James Vallesbio | email | Twitter
WTVM's Lindsey Connell contributed to this report.

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) –  The search continues for a suspected burglar believed to have targeted thirty businesses across Columbus over the past week.

Police are searching for a black male in his early 30's, 5'10" and 230 pounds with a low afro, goatee and dark complexion.

Law enforcement officials say the man is behind a string of gum ball machine thefts, in which he left broken windows and doors and several hundreds of dollars in damage. 

At this time, police believe the man is acting alone and is stealing the machines to get the money inside them.

According to police reports, the lone burglar went on a spree over the weekend, beginning at Cici's Pizza on Whittlesey Road. On Saturday morning at 3:30, police say a $500 large, three foot round glass bubble gum machine taken from the restaurant.

At 4:20 AM Saturday, the front glass was broken at the Georgia E-Fast Tax on Buena Vista Road and police say a $200 double head gumball machine was taken. The property damage left behind was $300.

At 4:30 AM Saturday, police say the suspect broke out the glass, front door of Golden Chopsticks Korean Restaurant on Saint Mary's Road and took a double gum ball machine. The property damage left behind was $300 .

At 7 AM Saturday, officers say the front glass window of Labor Finders on Henry Avenue was shattered and a $50 gum ball machine was taken. The property damage left behind was $360.

At 3 AM Sunday, police say the suspect broke a glass window at the Piggly Wiggly on South Lumpkin Road using a bolt cutter device, reached in and grabbed a gum ball machine near the entrance and fled. It was captured on a surveillance camera and the property damage left behind was $125.

Then at 5 AM Sunday, patrol officers say the suspect broke into the Serving Spoon restaurant on Buena Vista Road through front window and took two gum ball machines worth $400. The property damage left behind was $550.

 At 2:15 Monday morning, officers say the suspect busted out front door of the Reflections Hair Designs salon on Buena Vista Road and took a candy machine, which holds three different candies. The machine was worth $75 and there was $200 in property damage left behind.

Columbus Police officials say the same suspect is also responsible for burglarizing the Lewis Jones grocery store, Preferred Homes on Victory Drive, the Boys and Girls Club, the El Carrizo restaurant and Ebony Beauty Salon.

He is driving what appears to be a mid 1990's Chevrolet SUV- possibly a Tahoe, which looks to be dark green in color.

Anyone with information regarding the identity of this man is asked to call the Columbus Police Department Burglary and Theft Unit at 706-653-3400 or Crimestoppers at 706-653-3188.


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