Police Look for Suspects That Stole Rifles and Set Police Cars on Fire During Atlanta Protests

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
June 17, 2020US News
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Police Look for Suspects That Stole Rifles and Set Police Cars on Fire During Atlanta Protests
Police officers are seen during a protest over the Minneapolis death of George Floyd while in police custody in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 29, 2020. (Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

Authorities in Georgia are offering a reward for information that leads to the arrest of people suspected of stealing two firearms out of police vehicles then setting the cars on fire.

The incident happened during the first week of protests in Atlanta that erupted following the police custody death of George Floyd on May 25.

According to a police report obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, three Georgia Tech Police vehicles were parked outside a local steak house on Marietta Street during the May 29 protest.

“During the civil unrest, and later rioting and looting that plagued the Zone 5 area of operations, these three vehicles were destroyed,” an Atlanta police officer said in the report. “All three vehicles were unoccupied, and no officers were injured as a direct result of the destruction of the vehicles.”

Atlanta detectives are investigating who took the guns and set fire to the police vehicles, but so far they have no suspects.

Two of the vehicles were completely burned, according to the report. One semi-automatic rifle was stolen from one of the burned vehicles.

Another police car that was parked nearby was also declared a loss after the flames from the burning vehicles spread. A semi-automatic rifle was also missing from that third vehicle, police said.

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A burning police car is seen during a protest over the Minneapolis death of George Floyd while in police custody in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 29, 2020. (Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
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A burned out car sits idle during rioting and protests in Atlanta on May 29, 2020. (John Amis/AFP via Getty Images)

A local Atlanta resident told outlet WSB-TV she doesn’t think protesters stole these rifles and set fire to the cars.

“In general we don’t know necessarily if it’s the protesters or if it’s just somebody taking advantage of the situation,” she told the outlet. “I feel like more so the people breaking into the buildings and people who are stealing stuff out of cop cars—some of them are just taking advantage of the situation.”

Georgia authorities have offered a reward of up to $2,000 for anyone who steps forward and provides a tip that leads to an arrest.

The death of Rayshard Brooks further put Atlanta in the spotlight during nationwide protests over police brutality in the United States.

On the night of June 12, Brooks was found intoxicated behind the wheel at a Wendy’s drive-through. He later physically struggled with two police officers during his arrest, took a stun gun from one officer, and appeared to point and deploy it at the officer as he fled, but missed, according to surveillance video. The officer, Rolfe, then fired about three shots at Brooks.

Brooks died after being rushed to a local hospital for surgery, officials said. An autopsy found that he was hit twice in the back and suffered resultant injuries to his organs and blood loss that led to his death.

Protesters shut down a major highway in Atlanta and burned down a Wendy’s restaurant where Brooks was shot dead as he tried to escape arrest.

Authorities are now offering a $10,000 reward and published photos in the search for the alleged suspects of the restaurant arson. Police urged anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477 or visit the Crime Stoppers website.

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