Pow! Boom! Smash!
Those were more than words on a page Sunday at a local comic book and video game store.
Along with a box of roughly 100 comic books and video game consoles, suspects in a Sunday, Sept. 23, burglary at Wizards Video Games in Gainesville took $600 from the register and destroyed a front window.
Co-owners Joseph Furlow and Josh Hornor said one of the Washington Avenue shop’s regulars was parked in front of the store prior to 11 a.m. Sunday and called police after noticing the broken glass.
“A lot of our regulars have built a really good community with us and they watch out for us. We were getting contacted left and right … It was a really, really great outpouring,” Furlow said.
Beyond the theft, Furlow said they were disappointed to see the destruction of the painted wizard artwork on the glass, which depicted a character from the “Final Fantasy” franchise. It had only been painted two to three weeks ago. The artist said she would come and repaint the wizard.
From viewing the surveillance, the owners said it appeared to be two separate incidents early Sunday morning involving potentially one adult and two kids wearing hoodies, gloves and masks.
The Gainesville Police listed as stolen one Xbox One S console, four Sony Playstation 4 consoles and two Microsoft Xbox 360 consoles,
The comic books were valued at $3 a piece, and Furlow said a number of the consoles were broken.
“From the video, you could kind of tell they didn’t really know what they were looking for. They were looking for money and consoles and whatever else they saw,” Furlow said.
Oakwood Police responded later to a call from store associates at the local Walmart and met with two Hall County 17-year-olds identified as Jared Laster and Thomas Black.
Investigator Todd Templeton said Laster had an Airsoft pistol, which appeared real, concealed in his waistband and that both teenagers had “Walmart merchandise concealed within their backpacks including beer, battery chargers and clothing.”
“While conducting an inventory of the suspect’s vehicle, officers discovered numerous video game systems, some of which had labels from (Wizards Video Games) in Gainesville. The Oakwood officers contacted the Gainesville Police Department and (were) told they were taking a burglary report at that business,” Templeton wrote in an email.
Templeton said the items were identified as the stolen property from the Wizards burglary.
Laster and Black were both charged with theft by shoplifting and theft by receiving stolen property.
Laster was separately charged with possession of alprazolam, known as Xanax.
Black was charged with possession of marijuana.
Their attorneys did not return requests for comment Tuesday.
Additional charges may be forthcoming.