The reward for information leading to arrests and indictments of those responsible in the deadly robbery at the Barcelona Wine Bar is now $20,000, police said Monday.
The popular Howell Mill Road restaurant reopened Saturday, less than a week after 29-year-old manager Chelsea Beller was shot and killed during a robbery, officials said.
Beller’s death left employees shaken and prompted police to issue a higher-than-normal reward. Police worked with Crime Stoppers of Greater Atlanta to more than double the already high reward.
“The robbery and murder of an innocent restaurant manager doing her job is a terrible crime that has shocked even the most jaded among us here at APD,” Altanta police spokesman Carlos Campos said shortly after authorities announced the initial $7,000 reward. The typical amount is $2,000.
Beller and other employees were closing the eatery Nov. 19 when three masked men came inside, according to witnesses and police. The employees were tied up with electrical tape, but Beller was forced into an office upstairs. She opened the safe, police said, then was shot in the right shoulder.
Investigators believe at least one of the killers may have suffered serious cuts from a razor wire fence after leaving the scene in a carjacked vehicle, Atlanta police spokesman Officer Donald Hannah said Monday.
Detectives collected several pieces of blood evidence and clothing that may lead them to the killers, he said. The blood evidence and clothing were sent to the GBI for DNA testing.
In a statement posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page, officials expressed how difficult it has been to process the loss of a colleague known for her ever-changing hair color and compassion.
“Chelsea Beller was a beautiful soul taken from all of us way too soon,” Barcelona officials said in the post. “We will remember her as a loving daughter, fiercely loyal friend, and incredible source of energy & inspiration to us, her Barcelona family.”
Beller once shared that her goal while working at Barcelona was to “make at least one person happy every day,” the statement said. “We know she exceeded every expectation in that regard.”
As the restaurant got back to business, those who work there said they know it won’t be easy, but they plan to take it day by day.
“We aim to get back to doing what Chelsea did so well, serving our community with a gracious approach to warm, genuine hospitality,” officials said.
Police have not made any arrests in the case.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers Atlanta by calling 404-577-8477, texting information to 274637 or visiting crimestoppersatlanta.org. Tipsters can remain anonymous.
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