$30K worth of sneakers stolen from car parked outside Gwinnett restaurant


Credit: AJC File

Credit: AJC File

Gwinnett County police are searching for the people responsible for stealing about $30,000 worth of sneakers from a car parked outside a Dacula restaurant.

Jason Ridenour knew something was wrong when he stepped out of Wild Wing Cafe on Braselton Highway last weekend and saw an SUV speed away from his car.

When he got to his vehicle, the self-described “sneaker head” realized someone had pried his door open and helped themselves to his prized shoe collection.

Ridenour, who lives in Tallassee, Ala., was in town for Sneaker Con Atlanta, an annual gathering where footwear enthusiasts buy, sell and trade their kicks. He stopped by the restaurant near his parents' home Saturday night to grab a bite to eat.

“I was in there about 45 minutes total and as I was coming out to the car, I saw another car peel away in the parking lot,” he said.

When he walked up to his car, he noticed his driver’s side door handle was damaged and the back door of his SUV hanging open, according to a Gwinnett police report.

About half of the clothes and Nike shoes he brought with him for the convention had been stolen, Ridenour said Thursday.

The husband and father of two young children is still trying to figure out exactly what was taken, but he estimates the missing merchandise is worth between $28,000 and $30,000.

Surveillance footage showed the black Porsche SUV that parked next to Ridenour’s car was there for 22 minutes before he came out of the restaurant, according to the incident report. It initially parked to the right of Ridenour’s car before pulling out and backing in on the other side of his vehicle, police said.

The merchandise in the back of Ridenour’s car had been covered with a sheet, he said, but any passerby would be able to tell that his car was full.

“It seems to me like I came out while they were in the middle of it,” said Ridenour, adding the thieves made off with about 40 pairs of shoes and nearly 20 other articles of clothing. “It was almost my life savings and this happened in an affluent neighborhood.”

Ridenour hopes his insurance will cover at least a fraction of what was taken but as of Thursday, no arrests had made in the case. Anyone with information about the missing sneakers is asked to contact Gwinnett police.

In other news:

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On Thursday, Channel 2's Tom Jones learned that 10 cars have been stolen in the past year.