An Athens-Clarke County police car in Athens, Georgia, on Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. (Photo/Caroline Barnes)

An unknown number of people burglarized Food Express grocery store on Nellie B. Avenue and stole an estimated minimum of $30,000 worth of merchandise and cash on the night of Dec. 23, according to an Athens-Clarke County Police Department report.

The burglars used a lug wrench to open the back door to enter the store between 10 p.m. and 9:47 a.m. the following day, according to the report.

A person who saw the broken door called police that morning. Police notified the store’s owner, who arrived later to evaluate the stolen items, the report said.

The owner told police the burglars stole the store’s cash registers and bank deposit bag. The burglars also stole thousands of dollars in merchandise, including tobacco products, food, clothing, lottery tickets and other items, according to the report.

The store’s security systems had several wires cut and one of the security cameras had been “taken down,” the report said. The store’s alarm was not activated during the incident.

According to the report, police told the store owner to contact the alarm company and to report any further stolen merchandise he noticed. Police and the owner estimated the minimum in damages and stolen property is $33,857.56.

In an email statement, ACCPD spokesperson Geoffrey Gilland said detectives are investigating when the burglary occurred and if there are other surveillance systems in the area that may have information about the burglary. ACCPD asks anyone with information about the incident to contact police.

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