This is the Academy Sports + Outdoors store in Athens that was targeted by more than a dozen thieves overnight Sunday, according to police.
Photo: Google Earth
Photo: Google Earth

13 arrested after trying to burglarize Academy store in Athens, cops say

While many Athens police officers were downtown late Sunday night due to protests, several cops in the city’s outskirts stopped a burglary in process, authorities said.

About 12:45 a.m. Monday, officers swarmed the Academy Sports + Outdoors store off Atlanta Highway, arresting 13 burglars in the process, police said in a news release. The suspects’ charges include burglary, fleeing police and criminal damage to property.

Police said they were expecting would-be thieves to target businesses outside of the downtown area during the protests. The department said the perpetrators’ logic was flawed, assuming that police wouldn’t be able to respond to burglary calls during the late-night demonstrations.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Atlanta protests

“These burglaries were to occur given the erroneous assumption that most of the police department’s resources and personnel would be unavailable to address crimes in progress as officers would be actively assisting in the downtown district,” the release said.

The department said some businesses, including firearms shops or stores that carry guns like Academy, were warned in advance to secure items and prepare for potential break-ins. Police were also patrolling near those businesses.

After officers received the burglary in process call at Academy, they spotted suspects fleeing from the store in a silver sedan, the release said. The sedan’s driver wrecked shortly after, leading to multiple people running into some woods near Timothy Road.

Officers found and arrested the 13 suspects in the woods, booking them into the Clarke County jail, the release said. They were joined there by 19 people who were arrested after the city’s peaceful protest ended, AJC.com previously reported.

MORE: 19 arrested in Athens after Sunday night’s protests

This is a scene during the peaceful protest in Athens on Sunday night before the city's curfew went into effect.
Photo: Channel 2 Action News

Police said the protesters were among a group of roughly 200 people who stayed out after the city’s 9 p.m. curfew Sunday. Of the protesters arrested, all were from Georgia, including 13 from Athens.

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