A marauding band of burglars continues to smash store windows and grab money and merchandise in Macon’s early morning hours.
Investigators began noticing the increase in commercial burglaries in early April, Bibb County Sheriff David Davis said.
It appeared to be an organized group that gets in and out of a business in a matter of minutes — sometimes with a safe, ATM or cash register in hand.
“They’re not going to linger very long at all,” Davis said. “They know to watch.”
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On April 22, the Sheriff’s Office issued a statement urging the public to be on the lookout for suspicious activity in the dead of night whenever possible.
Authorities encouraged store owners to remove cash each night, as well as install better lighting and security measures.
The Sheriff’s Office increased patrols and staked out shopping centers by concentrating officers in a task force.
“We noticed a drop-off of safe burglaries, so that had some effect,” Davis said.
But burglars are still out there, even with more officers on the street, because sheriff’s cars can’t be parked in front of every business, he said.
On May 5, two deputies pretending to have car trouble near a local shopping center encountered a suspicious vehicle and talked to the driver, later identified as Martavius Kinder.
They decided to pursue Kinder, who was allegedly fleeing from officers before his fatal crash with Investigator Anthony “T.J.” Freeman at the intersection of Buena Vista and Columbus Road.
Nearly two weeks after Freeman’s death, at least eight businesses were broken into May 17, including five on the north side of town. Authorities believe they were committed by Eimyre Poole and three others.
Poole, 17, was the only one of three people in a car who was arrested after a 4:10 a.m. chase that ended on Westover Drive near the Unionville neighborhood, just a few blocks from where Freeman was killed.
Poole was initially tied to burglaries at Growlers and A&T cleaners about 1:30 a.m. in the 3800 block of Northside Drive, smash-and-grabs at Vineville Avenue eateries American Faves & Mo and Subway just before 2 a.m., and another break-in at Quality Computer Services on Riverside Drive about 3 a.m.
The Telegraph also reported a break-in at Polly’s La Mesa just after 2:35 that morning in the 3400 block of Pio Nono, but recently learned of two more than night.
About 3 a.m. on May 17, the Dollar General in the 4900 block of Bloomfield Road was hit by four men in dark hoodies and one with a white cloth around his head.
They smashed the front door, rummaged behind the counter and fled.
About 20 minutes later, three men broke the front door glass of Bombay City Indian restaurant and stole a cash drawer.
Veteran officers also noted how more of the burglars are fleeing.
“We’re coming across a type of criminal now, they’re usually in stolen vehicles and they want to get to a point, abandon the car and run off,” Davis said.
The sheriff’s office is combining the resources of property investigators, the gang unit and patrol officers to make some arrests.
Investigators are also working with Poole to try to learn the identities of the men who ran away.
“One individual is taking the fall for all of his companions,” Davis said. “Hopefully his family members will get him to come forward.”
In the meantime, the Sheriff’s Office is following leads picked up by the release of surveillance images, such as those received in a burglary just before 3 a.m. Thursday at Ken’s Audio and Video at 3695 Mercer University Drive.
Once arrests are made, investigators begin backtracking to determine how many of the unsolved crimes were committed by the same people.
“We get a lucky break sometimes and we have to work it backward,” Davis said.