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Thieves target outlets: Burberry, Zales both hit in August
FB DCN Public Safety 2

A Georgia Bureau of Investigation sketch artist is being called in to help create a better picture of the woman who robbed a local jewelry store last month.

"The video footage we have is definitely not what we needed it to be," said Maj. Ray Goodie, commander of the Dawson County Sheriff's Criminal Investigation Division.

"We're hoping we can get a better ID. Once the sketch is done, we'll put it out to social media and to the news media to say this is what the woman looks like."

Employees at Zales Outlet told investigators the woman entered the store at the North Georgia Premium Outlets just after 10 a.m. on Aug. 5, brandished a pistol and forced them into the back of the store where she zip-tied their hands.

Described as about 5' 5" and average build who was wearing a dark baseball cap, blue button up shirt and khaki pants, the woman was able to leave the store with an undisclosed amount of jewelry.

"The employees were in the back of the store with their hands zip-tied when she left, so she didn't have to run and didn't bring attention to herself to get away," Goodie said.

According to Goodie, the outlet mall, due in part to its proximity to Ga. 400 and its quick access south to the Atlanta area, remains an easy target for theft.

"Over the last six months we've had increased shopliftings, increased entering autos. We've had robberies, and we've had smash and grabs all that are focusing around the outlet mall," he said.

"That's not saying it's not happening other places, but the majority is at the outlet mall."

Less than two weeks after the jewelry store heist, thieves also got away with more than $20,000 in designer handbags, clothing and accessories after smashing a sledgehammer through the front window at the Burberry Outlet overnight Aug. 15.

Video surveillance shows three males near the store around 1:30 a.m. A short time later, the trio can be seen dashing toward the parking lot with their arms loaded down with stolen merchandise.

There have been no arrests in the case.

"The problem is in every one of [these cases] you have no suspect identification," he said.

Goodie encourages store management to take the proactive approach by having up-to-date and working video surveillance, as well as making sure employees know how to properly operate the equipment.

"The bigger problem is that when that one person gets away with it, they go and tell five or six of their friends, and then those five or six friends come up here and do the same," he said. "Over time, you end up with a large amount of people that know they can come up here and get away with it."

Surveillance cameras in the parking lots of the mall would also help, he said.

"If you make it a harder target where the cost outweighs the benefit from robbing it, that's what you use to deter the robber," he said.

Mall management and security are working closely with authorities to share information that may lead to the arrest of the individuals involved in the incidents.

"North Georgia Premium Outlets is committed to providing a safe, quality-shopping environment and takes several proactive security measures, including maintaining security patrol of our property and surrounding parking lots, and provides shoppers and employees with security escorts to their vehicles upon request," the mall management released in a statement.

Anyone with information on either robbery is asked to call the sheriff's office at (706) 344-3535.

 

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