By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Flowery Branch man sentenced for spree of burglaries, trying to break into ATM with an ax
Hai Quoc Bennett
Hai Quoc Bennett

A Flowery Branch man pleaded guilty recently to breaking into an ATM machine with an ax in 2020 then trying to pull the machine out with a car, according to court documents.

Hai Quoc Bennett, 34, was sentenced  to 20 years with the first five years in prison for that crime and a spree of other South Hall smash-and grab burglaries. 

Superior Court Judge Kathlene Gosselin imposed the sentence after multiple guilty pleas Sept. 20, allowing the remainder of his sentence to be served on probation.

In the ax case, Bennett pleaded guilty to a smash-and-grab burglary and second-degree criminal damage to property on June 3, 2020 at the Marathon Food Mart on Athens Highway in Gainesville.

The Flowery Branch man was accused of using an ax to break in the front glass door and then using the ax on the ATM machine, according to authorities.

“Failing to open the machine, he attached a chain to it and attempted (to) pull it out with a car but was unsuccessful,” Sheriff’s Office spokesman Derreck Booth previously told The Times.

Bennett was also charged with breaking into a Dollar General, a Metro PCS store, and attempting to break into the Swap & Trade Pawn on Atlanta Highway in 2019. In addition, he was accused of breaking into the AT&T store on Winder Highway.

Gosselin recommended that Bennett be considered for the Re-entry Accountability Court Transition program, which provides offenders with substance abuse treatment and vocational training.

If Bennett is not accepted into the REACT program, Gosselin ordered that Bennett complete a 12-month residential rehab program.

Bennett was also ordered to pay $3,049 in restitution across the two cases.

Defense attorney Michael George did not immediately return a request for comment.

Friends to Follow social media