Bubblegum bandit on the loose in Columbus - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Bubblegum bandit on the loose in Columbus

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) -  Columbus Police are searching for a man officials say has targeted 30 businesses across the city over the past week.

Officers believe all of the burglary cases are connected and tell WXTX the suspect is acting alone to steal bubblegum machines in order to get the money inside them.

According to reports, the lone burglar went on a spree over the weekend, starting with the Cici's Pizza on Whittlesey Road. On Saturday morning at 3:30, police say a $500 large 3 foot round glass bubblegum machine taken from the restaurant.

At 4:20 AM Saturday, the front glass was broken at the Georgia E-Fast Tax on Buena Vista Road and police say a $200 double head gumball machine taken. The property damage left behind was $300.

At 4:30 AM Saturday, police say the suspect broke out the glass front door of Golden Chopsticks Korean Restaurant on Saint Mary's Road and took a double gum ball machine. The property damage left behind was $300 .

At 7 AM Saturday, officers say the front glass window of Labor Finders on Henry Avenue was shattered and a $50 gum ball machine was taken. The property damage left behind was $360.

At 3 AM Sunday, police say the suspect broke a glass window at the Piggly Wiggly on South Lumpkin Road using a bolt cutter device, reached in and grabbed a gum ball machine near the entrance and fled. It was captured on a surveillance camera and the property damage left behind was $125.

Then at 5 AM Sunday, patrol officers say the suspect broke into the Serving Spoon restaurant on Buena Vista Road through front window and took two gum ball machines worth $400. The property damage left behind was $550.

 At 2:15 Monday morning, officers say the suspect busted out front door of the Reflections Hair Designs salon on Buena Vista Road and took a candy machine which holds three different candies. The machine was worth $75 and there was $200 in property damage left behind.

Officials over Burglary and Theft in the Columbus Police Department say the same suspect is also responsible for burglarizing the Lewis Jones grocery store, Preferred Homes on Victory Drive, the Boys and Girls Club, the El Carrizo restaurant and Ebony Beauty Salon.

According to police, the suspect is a black male in his early 30s, 5'10" and 230 pounds with a low afro, goatee and dark complexion.

He is driving what appears to be a mid 1990's Chevrolet SUV- possibly a Tahoe which looks to be dark green in color.

Anyone with information regarding the identity of this man is asked to call the Columbus Police Department Burglary and Theft Unit at 706-653-3400 or Crimestoppers at 706-653-3188.

Police are releasing footage of the suspect in the act Monday. Stay with Fox 54 for the latest.

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