by: Kerry Kavanaugh Updated:GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. —
Gwinnett County police are looking for a group of thieves orchestrating elaborate burglaries at Waffle House restaurants.
Police said four people shown in surveillance photographs have cost Waffle House more than $7,000.
Police said the first thief walks in and goes directly into the men's room. He spends between 30 and 40 minutes in there. Investigators believe he cuts a hole through the ceiling. Then, he climbs through to the manager’s office to the safe.
"Either two female suspects, or a female and a male, stay in the dining room area and sit as close as they can to where the bathroom and manager’s office is located,” said Cpl. Jake Smith.
Smith said they create distractions. They place food orders and play music from the jukebox, likely to obscure the noise being made in the bathroom. While that is going on, police suspect the first man is breaking into the safe and cleaning it out.
"We believe in one case, he used a key that was stored in the manager’s safe and in another case, he may have actually clipped the lock,” Smith said.
Police believe the group has hit four Waffle House restaurants since May, including one on Satellite Boulevard in Duluth, one in Loganville and two in Oakwood.
Police said each time, they’ve used an older model black Nissan Altima with a sunroof and a flat spoiler.
"We're hopeful that someone will recognize them and call police," Smith said.
Police don't know if the thieves are carrying any weapons. None have been used in any burglaries so far.