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Tuesday February 9th, 2016 4:56AM

Van used in Cornelia smash and grab recovered in Atlanta

By Rob Moore Reporter
CORNELIA - Thieves used an unusual tool to break into a Cornelia business overnight - a stolen church van.

"About 12:10 this morning, a witness observed a white church van pull in the parking lot of Gene's Pawn Shop and make a circle around and then quickly back into the pawn shop with the van, knocking the front door down," Cornelia Police Chief Rick Darby said.

The pawn shop is located on Old Cleveland Road at the intersection of Wayside Street, across from CVS.

Upon knocking down the building's entrance, thieves quickly stole assorted firearms and portable computers.

"When they knocked the front door down and the witness saw it, he immediately called law enforcement but within probably two minutes they were able to take 20 guns and six laptops and flee and get away," Darby said.

"The officers' response time was two minutes," Darby said. "As a matter of fact, the officers responded before the alarm went off - that's how quick they got there."

Darby said the alert citizen was able to get the name of the southwest Atlanta church and a vehicle description.

Cornelia officers called and found out the van had been stolen.

"This morning we found out that it also had been involved in a smash and grab in southwest Atlanta," Darby said. "The van has been found, and it's being processed by Atlanta P.D. and the suspects are still at large."
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