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Gwinnett Place high-rise investors hit by burglars

LAWRENCEVILLE - During an office burglary this week thieves swiped computers and documents containing "vital information" about a high-rise development that would go near Duluth, according to police reports and a local Korean newspaper.

The theft occurred at the office of a Korean real estate investment firm that is helping finance Global Station - an ambitious $600 million mixed-use project that would replace two mostly empty shopping centers on Pleasant Hill Road.

Local real estate mogul Wayne Mason has bought the 42 acres and, with backing from the Asian investors, plans to put high-rise condos and offices there, along with upscale stores and a below-ground parking deck.

The computers were stolen from the Pleasant Hill Road office of Trusty Real Estate Advisors on Sunday night or Monday morning, according to a Gwinnett police report.

An employee discovered the equipment missing Monday afternoon and called police, according to the report.

There were no signs of forced entry into the office that is shared with an accounting firm, which also had several computers stolen, according to police.

Key cards are used during the weekend to enter the Gwinnett Executive Place building at 2400 Pleasant Hill Road.

Trusty Real Estate Advisors directed questions to company president James Byun, who is out of town until Monday.

The Donga Daily News, a Doraville-based Korean newspaper that covers the Korean-American community in Gwinnett and DeKalb counties, reported that three of the stolen laptop computers contained "crucial information" about the Global Station project.

"I guess the robber was really professional or was one who knows about the inside system of our office really well," said an unnamed company official who was quoted by the newspaper.

According to the police report, a manager said he had just received a big account, "and vital information is on some of the computers that were stolen."

The manager was concerned that the thief or thieves may use the information against them to get the account, according to the police report.

The reported burglary does not affect the Global Station project, said a spokeswoman for Wayne Mason.

"It's very unfortunate, however, everything related to Wayne Mason's Gwinnett Prado and Gwinnett Station (shopping centers) is safe and secure in an attorney's office," said Jane Langley.

Last week during a visit to the site, Mason said the land bordered by Pleasant Hill Road, Old Norcross Road and Steve Reynolds Boulevard would be redeveloped with or without the investors.

Mason, a former county chairman who got his start building homes near Snellville in the 1960s, paid $24.7 million for the land. He now owns key properties in Atlanta, Braselton and Savannah.

Officials and business leaders hope Mason's project will deliver a big boost for the Gwinnett Place commercial district, which has been targeted for revitalization by the county.