Investigators search for laundromat thief

by: Kerry Kavanaugh Updated:

Investigators believe one man has hit 10 small businesses around the south Norcross-Tucker Road corridor since December.

NORCROSS, Ga. - Gwinnett County police are searching for a thief who is targeting laundromats for their massage chairs.

Police said the man is stealing hundreds of dollars in seconds.

Investigators believe one man has hit 10 small businesses around the south Norcross-Tucker Road corridor since December.

All of the businesses have the same pay-to-use massage chairs.

William Mundo, manager of the Happy Lavaderia in Norcross, said they installed one of the chairs about two years ago.

"Extra profit, it helps. Customers like it," Mundo said.

Mundo thought the man, posing as a customer, liked it, too.

Store surveillance video shows him in the businesses on Thursday, Jan. 31. He came in and sat in the chair for about 20 minutes.

Once another customer clears the area, the video shows the man messing around with the cash box.

At that point, Mundo came out of his office and chased him off.

But, Mundo said he came back two hours later in slightly different clothes, boosted the box and took off.

"He's a professional. He did the robbery in under 10 seconds," Mundo said.

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Police said he's had plenty of practice.

"It seems like he's actually getting more proficient. These more recent cases he conducted very quickly," said Gwinnett County police Cpl. Jake Smith. "Earlier in the cases, he was taking a little bit longer to actually force entry into the cash boxes."

Police say in some cases, he smashes through glass doors while businesses are closed.

Mundo said depending on the day, the chair could have up to $500 in it.

But it's not the money he's worried about. He said he's more concerned with the safety of his customers and workers.

If you recognize the man in the video, call Gwinnett County police at 770-513-5000.