By Jason A. Smith
McDonough Police are urging members of the public to exercise caution when leaving their vehicles unattended.
The agency is searching for two individuals, one of whom is believed to be responsible for break-ins at parking lots in the city.
The investigation began in response to thefts which allegedly occurred July 4, according to McDonough Police Detective Chris Morris. In a written statement issued by the agency Monday, Morris wrote that two white males took debit cards from vehicles outside the Walmart store at 135 South Willow Lane, and the Cracker Barrel restaurant, located at 1124 Ga. Highway 20 West.
"The suspects then used the debit cards of both victims at the QuikTrip located at 1494 Jonesboro Road in McDonough," Morris continued. "They were also possibly accompanied by an unknown black male at the time ... "
The men police are seeking may be traveling in a tan, four-door sedan, said McDonough Police Maj. Kyle Helgerson.
"The suspect vehicle ... has a distinguishing bumper," he said. "The bumper is black, or dark in color. It looks like it's an after-market bumper, or just a bumper that hasn't been painted yet. Everything else looks factory-owned."
Although Morris referred to both men as suspects in the case, Helgerson said video-surveillance footage has linked only one of them to thefts, conclusively.
The other individual, according to Helgerson, has been deemed a "person of interest" in the investigation.
"I don't even know if this person is involved," said Helgerson. "He could have been standing in line, waiting to use the machine. We definitely want to speak with him, too."
According to the major, photographs from automated-teller machines have provided further clues for investigators. However, the major said, the suspect remains at-large.
"There are three distinctive photographs of a particular white male, which appears to be in his late teens to mid-twenties, with a thin build, dark hair," said Helgerson. "He has not been immediately identified by the police department."
The major said entering-auto cases are "on the rise" in McDonough, and are "extremely difficult to solve." He emphasized a need for area residents to take precautions to avoid being victimized.
"Don't leave GPS's hanging from the windows of any vehicles," Helgerson said. "Don't leave any purses in plain view. Put them in the trunk. Put your GPS's in the glove box, and any other devices that people may want."
Anyone with information regarding the identity, or whereabouts, of the suspect, or the person of interest in the case, is asked to contact McDonough Police Detective Chris Morris at (770) 957-1237, ext. 122.