ATLANTA — In an exclusive interview, former Barcelona Wine Bar manager Tim Maldonado told Channel 2 Action News he sounded the alarm about what workers felt was insufficient security at the restaurant, more than eight months before Sunday night's deadly robbery.
"I feel like in a way it could have been avoided," he told Channel 2's Aaron Diamant. "But there was no solution. Nothing changed, and as you can see with what just happened, security is the same, in shambles, inconsistent."
Surveillance video released by Atlanta police shows the three suspects committing the violent crime. Police did not release portions of the video they said shows the robbers forcing manager
Chelsea Beller, to open the safe or when one of the men fatally shot Beller in the shoulder.
“It’s just a shame that this is a multi-million dollar company that didn’t put in place real security,” Maldonado said.
Maldonado showed Diamant emails exchanged between him and employees with his supervisors. One of the emails in that chain was from Beller, who wrote:
Moments after the robbery, a 911 call revealed the security officer at Barcelona Wine Bar didn't know the address to the restaurant.
Not only couldn’t the guard give the operator the restaurant’s address, but the officer couldn't provide a cross street either.
Maldonado said that confusion makes his case.
“So, for me to see that, knowing this is Thanksgiving week, it’s like 'How can I sleep at night knowing that I have information that could help her family kind of piece together what happened to their daughter?'” he asked.
One of the March emails Maldonado shared showed the restaurant's regional manager taking workers' concerns to the security company, which promised to take action. In the meantime, a statement from a Barcelona spokesperson said:
So far, police have not made any arrests in Sunday's deadly robbery.
If either of these people looks familiar, call Crime Stoppers. The number is 404-577-TIPS. You do not have to leave your name.
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