Authorities have returned some of the jewelry taken this fall during a $2.5 million heist at a Buford Highway business.
The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday morning presented Milano Fine Jewelry with about $300,000 worth of merchandise recovered during the investigation.
Ibrahim Ehican, whose family owns the store, said they were grateful to have the jewelry back.
"Every little bit helps right now, especially before Christmas time," he said. "We’re really thankful."
Sheriff Ted Paxton said investigators think the theft involved more than the six suspects who currently face charges.
He said authorities also suspect the burglary is linked to others in the metro Atlanta area and neighboring states.
"It’s a loose-knit group of people that associate with each other who collectively have joined together to commit these burglaries," said Paxton, adding that investigators have shared information with agencies in other jurisdictions.
Paxton said the jewelry returned to the store was recovered as a result of some 60 search warrants served at several locations throughout the metro Atlanta area.
He said merchandise was found in the suspects’ vehicles, storage rental units and a safe deposit box at a Clayton County bank.
One of the items returned to the store Thursday was a 4-carat diamond worth about $30,000. The jewel is a family heirloom belonging to one of Milano’s customers.
Paxton said authorities hope to recover more of the stolen merchandise as the investigation continues.
The theft occurred on the weekend of Sept. 24-25.
A construction crew that arrived for work at an empty building next door to Milano reported the theft the morning of Sept. 26.
They found a hole in the wall that authorities say had made to enter the jewelry store.
Someone then disabled the security system, ransacked the store, breached the safe and took security equipment.