BUFORD -- Thieves hit a Mall of Georgia car dealership hard sometime overnight Thursday, smashing vehicle windows and making out with two dozen navigation systems.
Gwinnett County police worked the lot at Jim Ellis Buick GMC -- located on Buford Drive just north of Interstate 985 -- well into Friday afternoon, dusting for prints and looking for other evidence. Richard Sweet, the dealership's service director, said the damage to the vehicles would likely eclipse $100,000.
"I came in just before sunrise this morning," Sweet said Friday afternoon, "and I noticed that we had vehicles with missing windows ... They just climbed in through the windows and ripped out the navigations through the inside."
Gwinnett County police spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith said detectives were at the dealership "for several hours" Friday, processing the scene and interviewing a security guard on duty overnight. The particular lot in question did not have video surveillance.
Police did not release information regarding what the security guard was doing or where he might have been during the burglary.
"If it was one or two (suspects) they had a long time to operate," Smith said, "and if it was a big group of people somebody should have seen something."
Jim Ellis is offering a $5,000 reward for any information that leads to the conviction of the suspect or suspects. The dealership is self-insured, and will have to absorb the damages internally, Sweet said.
"I have seen (thefts) before, but usually it's in limited numbers, one or two items, something like that," Sweet said. "Not of this magnitude. This was very well organized. They knew exactly what they were looking for."