Man Confesses to 20 Business Burglaries

By Andrew Wittenberg  - bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - It's business as usual on Thursday at the Yogurt Shoppe Café.

A popular lunch spot, it also became a popular target in January.

Columbus Police say 27-year-old Michael Wilburn broke into the restaurant twice, once on January 10th, then again on January 14th.

Now, he's in custody for a string of robberies -- at 17 local businesses.

"It was the same method of operation basically. For the majority, he would break out the front glass door and adjoining side panel, or the glass panel attached to the front door," said Columbus Police Sergeant Joseph Weatherford.

Authorities say "The Yogurt Shoppe Café" was just one of two businesses here in the St. Francis Marketplace to be robbed on January 10th.

The other was Mi Casa Bar and Grill.

In all, Wilburn is connected to 20 burglaries from September to January, which have now been cleared.

While it doesn't ease the burden of what happened, the arrest was welcome news to the owner of "The Yogurt Shoppe Cafe," Troy McKenzie.

"It's a relief to hear that they caught somebody who, evidently, had got pretty comfortable burglarizing businesses here in the Columbus area, with 20 to his credit," McKenzie said.

Already in jail for one robbery, Columbus Police detectives had previously interviewed Wilburn twice in regard to the rest of the burglaries.

With the third time being a charm, the suspect cooperated, admitting to the robberies which occurred over the five month period.

"Over several interviews and linking him up with other evidence to several other business burglaries, he finally confessed to the burglaries, ranging from Victory Drive to far north Columbus, all business burglaries," Weatherford said.