LaFayette, Ga., police arrested a 20-year-old man Wednesday morning on felony burglary, theft and property-damage charges after an overnight break-in at One-Eleven Restaurant.
The burglar stole $27 from two cash registers, took an unknown number of $5 bills from donation jars for two ill teens and caused $15,000 to $20,000 in damage to the restaurant's computerized sales security camera systems, authorities said.
A tipster told police that former One-Eleven employee Casey Darling robbed the place because he was trying to get home to Savannah, Ga., and needed money, police Chief Benjie Clift said.
Officers arrested Darling around noon at the Morgan Motel at 204 S. Main St. where he was staying with his girlfriend and another young couple.
Police suspected the burglary was an inside job, Clift said, because, "everything was in place. Nothing else was disturbed. He knew how to move around in the restaurant."
Michael Lovelady opened One-Eleven eight months ago in a renovated historic building on LaFayette's square.
The restaurant was closed Wednesday, but Lovelady said he hoped to reopen tonight if repairs could be made to the computerized point-of-sale system that was damaged when two cash drawers were taken.
The burglar also ripped the cables from a hard drive that stores digital video from the restaurant's security cameras, but Lovelady said late Wednesday afternoon that footage appears to show two burglars in the restaurant.
This is Lovelady's second break-in since returning to his hometown of LaFayette two years ago. About $20,000 worth of items were taken during a home break-in right after he moved back, he said.
"I'm averaging a robbery a year, so far," he said.
Tim Omarzu covers Catoosa and Walker counties for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California. Stories he's covered include crime in blighted parts of metro Detroit and Reno, Nev.; environmental activists tree-sitting in California's Sierra Nevada foothills; attempts by the Michigan Militia to take over a township¹s government in northern Michigan. A native of Michigan, ...