An overnight crime spree left parts of Macon-Bibb County littered with shattered glass early Friday morning.
At least seven businesses were broken into or vandalized in what appeared to be burglary attempts.
Shortly after 4 a.m., Bibb deputies were called to the Honey Baked Ham store at 4524 Forsyth Road, where the front door was smashed, but it was not immediately clear if anything was taken.
About the same time, someone took a large chunk of concrete and shattered the front door of the Keene’s Cleaners.
Owner Taein Chung said his wife arrived at 5 a.m. to find pebbles of glass on the floor and their two cash register drawers gone.
“I called 911 and the police came, but I think they cannot solve the problem,” Chung said.
China Inn restaurant owner Peter Wu had only been asleep a couple of hours when the phone rang at 4:33 a.m.
Seeing the 800 number, he knew it was the alarm company.
He sprang up and got to the restaurant about 10 minutes before deputies arrived.
His surveillance cameras showed men with cloth or towels over their heads trying to break the safety glass at the front of his restaurant at 3268 Vineville Ave.
They took a concrete planter and tried in vain to smash the window, and had to kick it in, instead.
“They jumped over the counter and searched for money, there’s no money in there,” Wu said. “I’m going to put a sign there, ‘No money overnight.’ It’s crazy.”
They took the tip jar, but the largest loss comes from the damage.
Wu estimated it would cost nearly $1,000 to repair the window on the brick building not far from Payne City.
Since opening up in 1991, Wu said he has fought and captured a robber, had two burglaries and a robbery by snatching.
“I’m sick of ’em. I try to catch them by myself, one day,” Wu said. “You can’t expect police to do everything at one time. They’re so busy.”
By the time Wu arrived at his store, it appeared the culprits had moved on to the Jumbo’s at the Marathon station.
About 4:40 a.m., the clerk was in the back making coffee when she heard commotion as more than one person was bashing in the window near the cash registers.
When she came back into the store, they fled.
“It made me nervous for a while,” said the woman, who did not want to be identified. “I’ve got family members who worry too much and I don’t want to upset them.”
As deputies responded to the Marathon, Bridget Dahman was just getting to her job at the parking garage downtown on Mulberry Street.
Dahman, who works for Republic Parking that has a contract to run the county-owned facility, found windows smashed and the frame bent for the sliding door on one of the glass booths.
“We’ve had problems with graffiti on the sixth floor, a lot, and skateboarders coming in here,” Dahman said. “We’ve had to call the cops lately a lot for vandalism in here.”
It took her several minutes to try to get into the booth of the garage across from the federal courthouse.
“There’s a ton of glass in here,” she said as she tried to clear the track for the door and force it open. “It doesn’t look like anything is missing. It looks like it was just vandalism.”
Between 5 and 7 a.m., someone broke into the Precision Tune at 3240 Mercer University Drive, said Lt. Randy Gonzalez of the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office.
“They broke the front door glass out of the business there and took a very miniscule amount of cash there,” Gonzalez said.
A deputy patrolling the 4700 block of Pio Nono Avenue discovered a burning car just before 4:30 a.m. and noticed the All Star Scooters had been broken into and a motorized bicycle was stolen, he said.
“The front glass was broken out,” Gonzalez said. “It looks like they threw a brick our something through the window.”
Reports had not been completed on the other incidents, he said, so it could be Monday before their is an accurate picture of what happened.
Investigators then will determine whether the crimes are related.
Gonzalez said deputies check businesses periodically, but called burglaries and vandalism, “crimes of opportunity” for criminals.
“They could be hiding and waiting for us to leave,” he said.
Anyone with information about these incidents is urged to call Macon Regional Crimestoppers at 877-68-CRIME.
To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.