A trio of burglars raided a Riverside Drive convenience store early Thursday, and investigators are poring over surveillance images from the break-in for clues.
R&A Mini Foods, located at 2746 Riverside Drive, was only open about three weeks before the masked bandits armed with crowbars cost brothers Rashad and Amad Ghanem tens of thousands of dollars.
Shortly before 4 a.m., the masked intruders came through the front door of the brick building and disabled the alarm.
Surveillance cameras captured them breaking into cash registers, the new ATM and four video gaming machines valued at about $5,000 apiece, said Rashad Ghanem, the owner.
These people dont have jobs; they have nothing, Ghanem said. We work hard for this one. You cant take it like this. Its crazy.
Macon police Sgt. Raymond Reynolds reviewed the images before visiting the store at the corner of Lee Road. Its my job to make sure this never happens again, Reynolds told the brothers.
He advised them to put chains on the door to slow entry and to make sure the alarm company calls police first.
At 4:03 a.m., the owner got a call stating the alarm systems power was out.
He didnt call 911 until 4:19 a.m. when he arrived to find the door broken open, stray cigarette packs strewn about and the store ransacked.
Due to the precise nature of the crime, police suspect the culprits might have struck before, or at least cased the property to get familiar with the store.
Gary Mills, a vice president with the Mini Foods leasing company that rents the building to the Ghanems, also serves as a REACT volunteer with the Bibb County Sheriffs Office.
They tear up anything just to get a couple hundred bucks, Mills said.
An officer told him it is possible the overnight burglary is linked to the Sept. 20 armed robbery of the S&S Cafeteria near Pierce Avenue where Vantoine Eason was wounded by one of three masked robbers.
When asked about such a connection, Macon police Maj. Robert Grabowski responded by email Thursday afternoon, stating the case is in the early stage of investigation.
We have nothing at this time to believe that whoever broke into the location on Riverside Drive are involved in other incidents, Grabowski wrote.
Mills, whose company handles the gas pumps for the business, looked at the damage with the Ghanem brothers, who were turning customers away due to their broken equipment.
This happens, said store manager Amad Ghanem. We cant do nothing.
Anyone with information is urged to call Macon Regional CrimeStoppers at 877-68CRIME.
Information from The Telegraph archives contributed to this report.