Two masked men broke through the side wall of the Georgia Power office in Fayetteville's Fayette Village South shopping center and stole cash from the safe in what Fayetteville Police called a "brazen" burglary.
According to reports from the Fayetteville Police Department, surveillance videos show that in the early morning of Dec. 31, the two men broke into the Goodwill store adjacent to Georgia Power on South Glynn Street. They then "tore apart" the sheetrock, creating an entrance into the Georgia Power office.
The two spent about three hours inside and successfully broke into the safe, eventually making off with an unspecified amount of cash.
Fayetteville Police only found out about the robbery when Georgia Power employees arrived for work around 8 a.m. and discovered the scene.
Detective Mike Whitlow with the Fayetteville Police Department says the two men had clearly planned the whole thing out thoroughly, and had all the necessary skills and tools both to circumvent the alarm system and break into the safe. Given the level of planning necessary, Whitlow said that it's likely this pair has experience.
"Part of the investigation is finding out if this is part of a larger operation, and investigating any possibility this crew has hit before," Whitlow said. He also said it is highly unusual for burglars to spend hours in a store.
"I think brazen is the best word for it; they were very nonchalant about it. Staying three hours is very unusual. We've had other burglaries where they've broken in through a wall but they're normally in and out in a matter of minutes," Whitlow said.
While the two men were well covered, wearing ski masks which prevented much helpful identification, Whitlow thinks they must have been big, strong men.
"They moved the safe out of the office it was in. The safe was probably 1,000 pounds, so these two guys are probably fairly big, both of them."
Whitlow said the two came with the right tools to break open the safe, which had locking mechanisms "probably as thick as your fingers," which further suggests that "they knew what they were doing."
The investigation is still in progress, as detectives continue to go through various surveillance feeds gathered from nearby businesses. Whitlow said the videos have shown a vehicle, but since it was dark it is difficult to provide a good description. He said he'd identify it as a car, perhaps some type of two-door sedan, but also guessed more than one vehicle was involved in the operation and perhaps more than two people.
"I'd suspect the two gentlemen were not alone," he said.
Whitlow encouraged anyone who passed that shopping center between 2 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. on December 31 and saw anything possibly suspicious to contact the Fayetteville Police Department at 770-461-4441.
Whitlow said any sort of detail a passerby could provide might help.
"Something that may seem innocuous to them could end up being very helpful."
The Fayette Village South shopping center is on South Glynn Street. The Georgia Power and Goodwill buildings sit between the Broadway Diner on the left and a We Buy Gold business as well as a Little Caesar's on the right.