Cracking the safe theft case - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Cracking the safe theft case

AMERICUS, GA (WALB) -

Three burglars were after a big haul in Americus, but their hard work didn't pay off. They went after safes, and managed to steal a couple from restaurants.

But they couldn't escape the lens of a surveillance camera. Two suspects are in jail Charged with break-in into three restaurants over a four-day period.

These weren't amateur criminals either, but catching them involved police surveillance, and good surveillance video.

That surveillance video was shot the night of January 2nd at El Jalapeno restaurant. That same night three burglars also hit the Hibachi Express a few blocks away with the same MO. This time going through a drive-thru window to swipe a safe. 

 "You look at this case and it was not done by first time offender - recidivism has a lot to do with it," said Americus Police Chief Mark Gerbino.

Gerbino says detectives and patrol officers worked together on gathering leads. A big one came when the safes were located.

"We recovered it in a wooded area of one of the local parks here," said Detective Cedric Smith. Safe crackers used sledge hammers to bust them open before tossing them in the woods.

"We were able to get other video and basically piece this puzzle together.  "The interviews, the forensic works all led the detectives to look at three individuals," said Gerbino.

Over the weekend officers had enough evidence to arrest 29-year-old Tony Flowers and 30-year-old Antonia Denmark. They're also charged in connection with a break-in December 29th La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant in which cash was stolen.

"Hopefully this going to put a stop to a lot of incidents that's going on in the city of Americus," said Gerbino.

Flowers are Denmark remain in the Sumter County Jail, without bond. And police are still looking for a third suspects. They say they expect an arrest to be made very soon.

Police say they are using this as an opportunity to encourage restaurant and business owners to make sure their security alarms and surveillance systems are working and up to par.

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