Police: Hispanic-owned businesses targeted by thieves in three metro Atlanta counties

Super Mercado Lavilla
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 8:13 PM EST
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KENNESAW, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Police from four jurisdictions are investigating hateful acts against metro Atlanta’s Hispanic community. They say thieves are targeting Hispanic-owned businesses.

Sandra Covarrubias says in the more than 20 years her family has run their grocery stores in both Smyrna and Kennesaw nothing like this has happened. Thieves are caught on camera burglarizing their stores Super Mercado La Villa.

“It’s pretty disappointing because it’s like it seems that they are in the Hispanic culture as well,” said Covarrubias. “And it’s just like why do it you know? We all sacrifice something to be in business. We worked really hard, and I don’t see why this has to be happening.”

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Kennesaw Police say the same group of four men, in a dark-colored Dodge Ram truck, are breaking into Hispanic grocery stores across the metro. So far, police have linked them to four burglaries in three different counties.

“In the Smyrna case, which is the first one that we know of, this crew attempted to break into the grocery store, and it set off the alarms, which scared them off,” said Officer David Buchanan.

About a month later, in Cherokee County, the sheriff’s office says men with the same description cut through metal to break into a Hispanic grocery store on Highway 92. They managed to get away with $2,500.00 in coins.

Each place they hit up, police say they become more brazen.

“When they got to Kennesaw, they have evolved and they decided to when the alarm goes, I’ve got the power to the building to give them more time which cuts off the alarm system in the video surveillance,” said Officer Buchanan.

Kennesaw Police say they may have one lead in the case. They’re hoping someone will recognize one of the suspects wearing a hooded sweatshirt with a large face printed on it.

Kennesaw Police say the fourth burglary happened in Doraville. While they’re asking the public to be on the lookout for the suspects, they’re also asking store owners to inspect their camera systems to insure they’re in good working order.