Forsyth County authorities are searching for two thieves that used a crowbar to break open the front door of Atlanta Hobby in south Forsyth and stole large, high-end drones worth more than $81,000 in about 4 minutes on Saturday night.
According to Atlanta Hobby owner Cliff Whitney, the burglary occurred just before midnight on Nov. 30 and the entire 4-minute incident was captured by the store’s many security cameras.
The business, located at the intersection of Oak Industrial Lane and Ronald Reagan Boulevard, recently moved to its current location after many years tucked away from public view on Parkway North Drive off Bethelview Road.
From what can be seen on the footage, Whitney said that it appears the thieves, who wore concealing clothing, masks, hoods and gloves, were familiar with Atlanta Hobby, and were able carry out the burglary quickly and efficiently.
"I believe they knew exactly what they were doing,” Whitney said. “When they came in the front door they knew where the light switch was, they knew which way to turn to get to the highest dollar items.”
Atlanta Hobby Burglary on Saturday, Nov. 30
But the burglars weren’t content just stealing merchandise from the store. Whitney said that the thieves can be seen on the footage stealing from the store’s Toys for Tots box, which had been placed at the business to gather donations for Christmas.
"These guys came in stealing our high-end stuff, they knew what they wanted, but it's wild seeing somebody pass by a Toys for Tots box, and reach in and grab stuff out of it," he said. "I don't even think they knew what they got from it."
The burglars left the scene in a white Nissan van, which had been pulled up to the back of the business, so the stolen merchandise could be loaded inside.
With the video footage and evidence that was left at the scene, Whitney said they are hopeful that the burglars will be brought to justice eventually.
But even if the culprits are caught, this loss so close to the holiday season has been devastating for his business, Whitney said.
"It's not good, especially at Christmas. All small businesses are having a hard enough time just running their business, margins are low," he said. "It makes you mad more than anything else, I mean if somebody needs something that bad, call me I'll bring the keys and you can just have it, I would rather that, than have to pay $650 to repair my door and to be here until 5 in the morning."
Authorities are asking anyone with information on this crime to contact the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center at (770) 781-3087.