Local social service offices broken into, vans stolen
by Shaka S. Lias
Apr 01, 2011 | 3286 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bartow Transit driver Charlotte Johnson looks over her bus for damage after it was stolen and driven through the bus depot’s gate.
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Bartow Transit driver Charlotte Johnson looks over her bus for damage after it was stolen and driven through the bus depot’s gate. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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Business resumed as usual with Bartow County Transit after a break-in at its offices and the theft of two vans early Thursday morning. The suspects also broke into the offices of United Way of Bartow County and Tallatoona.

BCT Director Charles Fluellen said he received a call shortly after midnight informing him of the break-in. He said the vehicles were quickly recovered in a subdivision off Cassville Road without major damages.

"They parked them like someone had just got off work and gone home," Fluellen said of the vans found in Meadow Brook subdivision.

As for Bartow Transit's building, Fluellen said he estimates about $6,000 to $8,000 in damages.

He said the office was vandalized and ransacked, and he thinks they were looking for money.

"When they couldn't find money, they grabbed the keys off our board, got in the vans and drove them through the fence. The fence was knocked down and also has to be repaired."

Fluellen said he's happy citizens got involved.

"Someone called 911 to let them know they saw someone driving the vans through the fence," he said.

Citizens also called in and said they saw the vehicles on Cassville Road, which was unusual because the vans don't run that late.

Brenda Morehouse, president of United Way, said they were one of the lucky ones. Damages were mild when compared to Bartow Transit and Tallatoona.

"They did break our window and ripped up a desk," Morehouse said.

She said she thinks they were looking for money, adding the suspects were able to get the petty cash box, which contained no more than $100.

Morehouse said the break-ins scared her, and she no longer wants her employees to be alone at the job.

A spokesperson from Tallatoona wasn't available for comment; however, Fluellen said Tallatoona's office computer was smashed, fire extinguishers were set off and a flat screen television was stolen. In addition, a large quantity of food was stolen.

Fluellen said he's puzzled as to why someone would target their offices.

"What ticked me off is that we are all social services agencies that are here to help people," Fluellen said.

Cartersville police were on the scene and took pictures of the crime area. Calls to CPD Capt. Frank Cline were not returned by press time.

"In our case, it's almost like, 'If you ask, you will get it,'" Fluellen said. "You don't have to break in and steal."