Cops: Thieves brave weather for cell phones

SNELLVILLE — Burglars in Snellville reportedly saw an opportunity in this week’s inclement weather.

Sometime between Sunday night and Tuesday morning, several thieves broke into businesses, including a T-Mobile store, at a strip mall in the 2000 block of U.S. Highway 78 with intentions of pilfering new cell phones, police said Friday.

Damages and property losses total about $20,000, said Snellville police Detective E. Washburn. All businesses were closed Monday in the wake of the winter storm.

Washburn said it appears several individuals made entry by breaking out a small window of a business neighboring T-Mobile, disabled an alarm system and broke into the cell phone retailer via an interior wall.

The burglars disabled T-Mobile’s alarm and forced their way into a locked storage area, where they bagged a large inventory of new cell phones, Washburn said.

“We’re still awaiting a final tally of the equipment taken and a dollar amount to go with those phones,” he said.

A nail salon next to T-Mobile was also damaged during the burglaries.

Snellville police are working with T-Mobile and several other metro Atlanta police agencies to link similar crimes and recover the property, Washburn said. No arrests have been made.

Thieves sell cell phones as black market items on eBay and Craigslist, or through more sophisticated channels, at discounted prices, police have said.