Wal-Mart smash & grab couple caught on camera
Police in North Georgia are on the lookout for a couple that got away with tens of thousands of dollars in merchandise from local Wal-Mart stores. The smash and grabs were caught on camera. Police warn the thieves may strike again.
Wal-Mart surveillance cameras clearly show the same couple bust open glass cases and take off with a total of around $30,000 in electronics. First the Trion Wal-Mart, then the Lafayette Wal-Mart, and police worry they won't stop there.
Two North Georgia Wal-Marts that are 20 minutes apart were hit by the same pair of thieves Monday night. Both thefts were late in the evening, not long before their midnight closing times, when there are fewer customers and workers in the store.
"I believe they were comfortable in what they were doing, like they were familiar with the store and the operations of the store," Chattooga County Sheriff Mark Schrader said.
The first stop was the Wal-Mart along Highway 27 in Trion. You see a woman knock the glass door off the iPad case. A man runs over with large bags, they load up about $11,000 worth, and walk right out of the store. But, they didn't stop there.
"They go back, figure out their stuff is missing and by the time they make the call, we've missed them within minutes," Lafayette Police Chief Bengie Clift said.
They pull a similar routine in the Lafayette Wal-Mart, only this time the man uses what's called a "punch." It's a tool emergency responders use to shatter car windows to extract crash victims.
"Punches out the glass, makes a mess, he takes what he can take and she basically comes up like she's an employee," Chief Clift said.
Some shoppers take notice, so the woman pretends to work there and tells them the department is closed. That's all while her male counterpart pushes out a buggy-full of smart phones totaling around $19,000.
"The thing is they're professionals because she's actually got enough nerve to address the witnesses and act like she's working and she's cleaning the are up or doing whatever while he's done head out the door," Chief Clift said.
By the time the witnesses tell a real store employee, the duo is driving off in a gray or silver minivan with Florida tags. Detectives suspect they'll hit other stores, and ask shoppers and workers to be on the lookout and report any sightings.
Detectives do not think the couple is local because they didn't try to hide their faces.
Serial numbers on the $30,0000 worth of electronics have been entered into a database as stolen. The couple will likely sell the devices online. When someone buys one and tries to activate it, police will be alerted and that person will be out the cash.