Atlanta police allege that three men killed a restaurant manager and then left with cash before running to another nearby restaurant. There, they are accused of carjacking a Lyft driver and fleeing down Howell Mill Road.
Barely a mile away, the brazen trio ditched the car on a side street after being spotted by a Georgia Tech police officer, and the three ran again. But inside the car, the suspects left items investigators hope will provide clues to their identities, including a distinctive hoodie worn when Chelsea Beller was shot inside Barcelona Wine Bar.
“We are relentlessly trying to solve this case,” Major Adam Lee said at a Wednesday afternoon press conference.
As Beller and other employees closed the Barcelona restaurant early Nov. 19, three masked men came inside, witnesses told police. While the workers were tied up with electrical tape, Beller was led to the restaurant office, where she was ordered to give the suspects cash from the safe before she was shot. Beller, known for her spunky, sweet spirit and ever-changing hair color, died from her injuries. She was 29.
A surveillance camera in the restaurant captured the shooting, as well as images of the three suspects. Though numerous tipsters have offered information on the case, investigators have not made any arrests. Lee hopes the clothing worn by one suspect — including a “Switch” brand hoodie — will spark someone’s memory.
The black hoodie has the number 88 on the front and a “S” on both sleeves, Lee said. Part of the jacket fabric has a quilt-like pattern. The man wearing the the hoodie was also wearing gray camouflage pants and blue tennis shoes. Around the abandoned car, investigators also found other items, including latex clothes and the masks the suspects were believed to be wearing inside Barcelona.
“All of these things have subsequently been turned in to the GBI for a DNA examination,” Lee said.
Near where the stolen car was located on Westshire Place, investigators found blood, possibly caused by razor wire.
“We truly believe one of those individuals — at least one — received a significant injury based on the amount of blood that we saw at the scene,” Lee said.
Numerous officers continue to work diligently on the case, he said, with hopes of providing Beller’s family and the community with answers.
“Whatever it takes, we’re going to get this case solved as soon as possible,” Lee said.
But the public’s help is needed to identify those responsible, police said. A reward of $20,000 is being offered for information leading to the identification, arrest and indictment of the suspects. Anonymous tips can be provided to Crime Stoppers Greater Atlanta by calling 404-577-TIPS (8477).
A funeral was held Friday for Beller, who was born in Marietta, and attended Lockhart Academy and Galloway High School in Sandy Springs. In addition to her parents and stepmother, Beller is survived by three younger sisters, her grandmother and her boyfriend.
On Dec. 11, friends and fellow restaurant workers plan to host a benefit for Beller’s family. “BBQ for Beller” will be held at Wild Heaven Beer in Decatur.