The owners of a popular mountain resort just across the Dawson County line in Dahlonega are once again reeling to recover after thieves reportedly stole more than a dozen flat screen TVs from cabins on the property.
"Whoever it is felt really comfortable on the resort," said Michele DeBlois, whose parents opened Forrest Hills Mountain Resort nearly 40 year ago.
Two white men can be seen on surveillance video entering the resort on three different occasions on Aug. 11.
"They came at 7 o'clock in the evening. So in the broad daylight they came in, parked their truck somewhere on the property, drank bottles of beer, and were walking around the resort, scoping it out," DeBlois said. "It looks like they were probably shopping."
In addition to the 15 TVs ranging in size from 32-50 inch sets, the brazen pair was also able to get away with a nearly new brown leather sofa, mini refrigerators, construction equipment such as ladders and paint, and a bed spread from one of the cabins.
"It looked like they were probably planning to come back another time but maybe chickened out, because they had some other sofas lined up in a hospitality room that they didn't take," DeBlois said.
Lumpkin County Sheriff's Lt. Wesley Burnett described the items as ones that "can be easily transported and just as easily distributed through the black market."
DeBlois said the most shocking part is that the pair had keys that allowed them to enter buildings on the resort.
"Somehow they had keys, so I'm surprised we don't recognize who they are. I can't imagine how they got the keys, except there was one time we were broken into and somebody had stolen some keys out of the office," she said.
All doors at the resort are now re-keyed and new video surveillance is being installed.
"We're adding more video, better cameras so we can get more details, tag numbers, everything. I'm going to dare anybody to come and try this again," DeBlois said.
Last week's burglary is the second at Forrest Hills this year.
"There was also a report back in April. TVs were taken then also," Burnett said.
No arrests have been made in either case. It was unclear at press time if authorities believe the cases to be related.
"We're still reviewing video and getting video from the resort to review a little bit more closely," Burnett said. "The truck is a little bit distinguishable itself. We're suspecting it to be maybe a mid-90s Chevrolet and maybe a light green or teal in color."
According to DeBlois, a $3,000 reward is being offered to enlist the public's help in finding the culprits in last week's burglary.
"The kindness and generosity of the community has really been amazing and heartwarming," she said. "Originally, I posted a $1,000 reward, and my dad right off the bat said he wanted to add another $1,000 to that."
Another $1,000 was contributed by Richard Clark, whose movie production crew stayed at the resort for about a month while they were filming Christmas in the Smokies.
"That was just really super sweet of both of them," DeBlois said. "This is a family business. My family built it. We still own it. We still manage it.
"It's a lot of hard work...and it's just heartbreaking to think someone can just come and take it."
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Lumpkin County Sheriff's Office at (706) 864-0414.