Two smash-and-grab burglaries committed in Buckhead early June 8 probably are related, according to Atlanta Zone 2 police.
In the first of the two burglaries, thieves used a piece of asphalt to break the front window of the Blue Genes store near Lenox Mall around 4:20 a.m. and made off with two vanloads of merchandise. Later that morning, a similar break-in was reported at a Ritz Camera store on West Paces Ferry Road.
Police had not said by press time whether they think the two thefts June 8 are connected to two others a week prior: the third smash-and-grab at Filene’s clothing store across from Phipps Plaza and another the same morning at the Marshall’s discount clothing store near the intersection of Peachtree and Piedmont roads.
On June 8, the bandits stole more than $100,000 in merchandise from Blue Genes, where a pair of premium denim jeans can cost $400.
“We lost everything,” said Jennifer Arrendale, who owns the store with her two sisters. “They literally took every jean off every rack.”
It was the seventh break-in at Blue Genes, which opened about eight years ago. The last one came about a year ago.
The June 8 burglary was by far the worst. According to the store owners, a security guard witnessed the crime.
Derek Sims, the husband of one of the owners, said the security guard drove up and saw two vans and six men but was afraid to get out and confront the thieves.
Arrendale said she and her sisters have insurance, but it will take a couple of weeks to replace the inventory. They plan on staying in that location despite all the break-ins.
The shopping center is being sold, and the new owners have said they are going to improve the security at the center.
— John Schaffner