VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Surveillance video from inside the JK Food Mart on Old Statenville Road shows a man taking carton after carton of Newport cigarettes from behind the counter just after 12:30 a.m. on August 31st.
Police arrested 48 year-old Maxie Patterson for the theft a few blocks away from the store shortly after the burglary occurred. They say he entered the store by smashing a hole in the back wall of the building.
"The key holder was contacted, owner came out. They searched the building, didn't find anybody inside. There were several cartons of cigarettes missing," explained Valdosta Police Department Lieutenant Aaron Kirk.
The owner of the store, Jayesh Patel, didn't want to go on camera Tuesday for fear of retaliation, but he said he's caught Patterson burglarizing the store before.
Fresh bricks have been placed over the hole in the employee bathroom that Patterson is accused of smashing through on his way into the store early Sunday morning. But Patel said Patterson actually broke into the store on two other occasions, once through a hole near the top of the ventilation system and once through a hole near the bottom of the ventilation system.
Patel said as soon as he saw the surveillance video from the burglary Sunday night, he told police he was almost certain it was Patterson. "Officers followed up on that. They went to a house, located the person," said Kirk. "Through further investigation, they were able to determine that he's the one that broke into the store and they also recovered several cartons of cigarettes they believe came from the store."
Patterson also kicked the bars on the inside of the window of the patrol car he was being transported in so hard that he bent the frame of the bars. As of Tuesday, Patterson is facing charges of burglary and damage to government property.
Kirk added that so far, Patterson has not been charged with the previous burglaries at the convenience store. He also said investigators don't believe Sunday's burglary at the JK Food Mart is connected to another convenience store burglary in Valdosta earlier in the weekend.