A snatch-and-grab at The Avenue in Peachtree City around noon April 25 was thwarted by the quick action of many concerned citizens who witnessed it as well as the police who responded, saving a retailer the loss of thousands of dollars in merchandise.
A gang of four men backed their car into a parking space directly in front of the LuluLemon store, according to Peachtree City Police Lt. Chris Hyatt. Three of them then got out of the car and walked into the store, where they “just snatched up armfulls of stuff and bolted out the door,” Hyatt said.
A number of citizens at the scene sprang into action, calling police and also taking pictures with their phones to get descriptions of the suspects. One person submitted a photo of the getaway car’s license plate, and police were quickly able to determine that the plate did not fit the car and was stolen.
“We assumed they’d pull over somewhere to switch out tags, which they did,” said Hyatt.
An officer was able to get behind the car near the intersection of Hwys. 54 and 74. The suspects tried to shake that tail in the nearby parking lot of Pike Nursery, but they wound up getting blocked in there and were apprehended.
The four men arrested were: Bayo Allen, 19, of Atlanta; Quintavious Gooch, 19, of Stone Mountain; Nicholas Lynch, 25, of Mableton; and Braylon Shivers, 19, of Atlanta.
Each of them faces a felony count of theft by shoplifting as well as a misdemeanor charge of theft by receiving stolen property. All of them will also have an additional charge of using a stolen license plate, “since they all used it to cover their tracks,” as Hyatt put it.
Police were able to recover about $7,000 worth of merchandise taken from the store, he added.
But the store itself did not provide any assistance on the day of the robbery. Hyatt said the department received video of the incident from LuluLemon corporate officials the following evening, and it took some urging on the part of police to get that.
“Typically their corporate policy is that they don’t intervene or cooperate, and I was finally able to convince them that they need to,” said Hyatt.
This is not unusual with large retail corporations. Hyatt related that another major company resisted giving such cooperation regarding a previous incident until police threatened to charge them with reckless conduct.
Fortunately, the general public was a huge help in this case.
“All of our complaints came from citizens on this one,” said Hyatt.