New batch of bandits
Published 2:32 pm Monday, December 4, 2006
By By Janet Little Cooper
An early morning shooting spree in Atmore has authorities on the lookout for suspects in the Nov. 30 string of criminal mischief and local business owners wondering why they were targeted.
The Atmore Police Department received a call from Pepsi reporting damage to two of their vehicles. Windows in the vehicles appeared to be busted out or shot out.
"You can see the bullet holes in the front windshields," Pepsi co-owner Dale Ash said. "They shattered the passenger windows on two different lift gate trucks. They were both a Ford F250 and one was a brand new vehicle. It has only like 2,500 miles on it and now it has been damaged.
The two Pepsi trucks were parked next to the company's building facing Church Street.
"The spot they were parked in made them an easy target for someone to drive by and shoot," Ash said. "We have well over a $1,000 worth of damage from this and it is hard for a mom and pop business to survive in situations like this. It is not worth reporting to your insurance company so it has to come out of pocket. This was certainly something that we did not need to happen this time of the year. Winter months are our slowest times of the year."
Escambia Drug Store located on South Main Street in downtown Atmore also reported damage to their front window as well.
Escambia owner Ken Barnett was called at 6:45 Thursday morning by the APD to alert him of the store's damage.
"I got to the store to find the front window completely shattered," Barnett said. "That window was made out of a special heat treated glass that has to be used in public establishments for safety reasons. The glass if ever damaged breaks into little pieces about the size of a marble. We had glass everywhere in the store where it just shattered. Nothing was missing in the store that we could tell and I think that it was just a random drive-by shooting."
Numerous Atmore businesses were hit in July by two men who made their way from Pensacola, Fla., to Atmore on a weekend shooting spree busting out vehicle windows and store fronts.
The two men responsible for the July attacks were later arrested in Santa Rosa County after being linked with several incidents that occurred there as well.
According to the APD investigators, the two cases appear to be related to one another and it is believed that the unknown offender may have used either a B.B. gun or some type of air rifle to commit these crimes. No entry was made into the vehicles or the building.
If anyone has any information about these two cases please contact the Atmore Police Department at 251-368-9141.