Men take snakes from Petco store

•DULUTH - Two men stole three python snakes valued at $80 each from the Petco store at 2131 Pleasant Hill Road on Monday.

According to a police report, two black men went into the store about 11 a.m. and took the snakes.

A manager said one of the men returned to the store later and took a snake kit with a cage valued at $200. The manager said he tried to stop the man who ran out of the store toward a gold SUV where three other black men were waiting.

Robber forces employee into walk-in cooler

•DULUTH - An employee at the Checkers fast-food restaurant at 2336 Pleasant Hill Road said she was robbed at the store Saturday.

The employee was closing the store about 1 a.m. when a man grabbed her by the throat, demanding money as he pushed her into the store.

The woman said the man was armed with a gun and forced her into the store's walk-in cooler after stealing more than $1,200 from the restaurant and about $63 from her purse.

The employee was able to escape from the cooler but refused medical treatment for injuries from being hit in the head with a gun by the robber.

Fire damages

hotel room

•NORCROSS - Firefighters said a pot of grease on the stove in a room at the Homestead Suites at 7049 Jimmy Carter Blvd. caused a fire Thursday morning.

Gwinnett County Fire Department spokesman Lt. Thomas Rutledge said the fire extended from the stove to the cabinets but flames were extinguished by sprinklers in the room before firefighters arrived about 11:28 a.m.

He said the person staying in the room escaped unharmed.

Two dogs killed in townhome fire

•LAWRENCEVILLE - A Lawrenceville family lost their pets in a house fire Thursday morning, firefighters said.

Gwinnett County Fire Department spokesman Lt. Thomas Rutledge said the owner of the two dogs returned to his townhome at 2638 Heathrow Drive and noticed smoke and flames inside the home and called 911.

Rutledge said firefighters were unsure how long the home had been on fire when the man arrived home. He said the blaze did not spread to other units connected to the townhome.

He said neither the man nor his wife and children were home at the time the fire started. Firefighters believe the fire was an accident and started in the kitchen near the stove but are unsure exactly what caused the fire to begin.

The family was displaced from the home, Rutledge said, and would be staying with family who lived nearby.

Barrow confiscates 665 pot plants

•WINDER - The Barrow County Sheriff's Department methamphetamine task force confiscated 665 marijuana plants Monday from 607 Raleigh Court in Winder.

The plants had an estimated street value of $4.3 million, according to Chief Deputy Murray Kogod. No arrests have been made yet.

"When we got there, the house was empty," Kogod said.

Investigators expect to make arrests soon, he said.

The marijuana plants were taken to the GBI crime lab for analysis. They will be destroyed later.

- From staff reports