Houston & Peach

Business break-ins investigated in Peach County

Two Peach County businesses were broken into early Friday, and one owner estimated his loss at more than $30,000.

About 3 a.m., security cameras at the Yamaha of Byron on Ga. 49 captured what appeared to be two black males in a white van stealing two all-terrain vehicles that were in a fenced area outside, said Byron Police Chief Wesley Cannon. One of the vehicles was used, and the other was new.

About four miles away on Ga. 49, outside of the city limits, Big Boys Performance was burglarized. Owner Carey Hulett said two lawn mowers that he custom built for racing were stolen. He placed the value of the two combined at more than $30,000. The Peach County Sheriff’s Office is investigating that break-in. Hulett didn’t discover the break-in until Friday afternoon when a customer called to pick up a pressure washer.

Hulett couldn’t find it but discovered a fence had been cut and locks broken. He also discovered the lawn mowers were missing, as well as the pressure washer and a self-propelled lawn mower.

Hulett said he is puzzled about why anyone would have stolen the racing lawn mowers. Most everyone involved in lawn mower racing nationwide knows him and the lawn mowers, he said, and he doesn’t figure the culprits will ever be able to sell the machines.

Sheriff Terry Deese said Friday afternoon his office didn’t yet know enough to comment. But Cannon said he thinks the two burglaries are related.

Hulett said the investigator at the scene confirmed the tire tracks were the same as the ones found at the Yamaha break-in.

A nearly identical break-in happened at the Yamaha dealership about a year ago, Cannon said, so he thinks the same two people are responsible. In the break-in last year, two black males in a van took two four-wheelers. The van was later recovered and found to have been stolen, but the suspects were never identified. Cannon suspects the break-in Friday was by the same two people, and the van used likely was also stolen.

Hulett said he is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the recovery of his lawn mowers.

Anyone with information about the break-ins is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 825-5144 or the Byron police at 956-2880.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.