October 24, 2006
Deputies are hoping videotape can lead them to three bumbling burglars in a stolen car.
The car was used to break into a shop in Augusta, but then the thieves apparently get cold feet.
Chris Bennett, he manager of the Barnyard Flea Market on Doug Barnard Parkway tells us he's seen his fair share of break-ins in the last year...but this is the first time someone's tried to use a car.
After three failed attempts to ram the Buick through the wall, it appears a few thieves may have walked away with more than what they bargained for.
"Totaled," said the car's owner, Jeff Norris. "When they hit the car, they've got to be sore because they bent the front seat back."
Minutes after the car was reported stolen, it was found used as an accomplice in another crime.
"When the deputy told me someone ran a car into the back of the building, I thought someone ran off the road," said Bennett. "I didn't know what it was."
In the same night, just a few doors down, it appears the same thieves tried to break into two other adjacent stores by prying open the back door. After they realized it wasn't working, they tried something bigger.
The car crumpled the vinyl siding like an accordion and destroyed the glass display case sitting behind it at the Audio in Motion Store at the Barnyard Flea Market.
It's the second time this shop has been a target in the past year, and Bennett says he knows exactly why.
"They target the ones that can be sold quickly for drugs, like stereo equipment, shoes, clothes, tools," he told News 12.
This was the fifth attempted break-in at the flea market in the past four weeks, and Bennett says it's just an early start to a rash of holiday break-ins yet to come.
"We up security during the holidays," he said. "We usually don't do it until November, but we're going to start earlier."
Forced to increase security 24-hours a day so another store owner isn't left scraping up what's left of his shop.
Nothing was reported missing from the shop this time, but just last week another store in the flea market was robbed of about $10,000 in merchandise.
The shop next door has cameras set up in the front of the store. The surveillance video didn't show the car being rammed in the back, but we're told one of the thieves actually looked into the camera before he put his mask on. The sheriff's office is sending the tape to the crime lab to try to get better still shots of the suspects.