Ga. store owner says thieves took $80K worth of drones and accessories, ransacked Toys for Tots box

FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. (WSB/CNN) – While drones may top a lot of wish lists this holiday, unfortunately the same is true for thieves – especially two in Georgia who stole $80,000 worth of drones and drone accessories, according to the store owner.

Cliff Whitley, owner of AtlantaHobby.com, has a passion for drones, but he never imagined a bunch of them would go flying out the door of his shop in the hands of burglars.

Surveillance video shows the thieves park a white van at the back of Whitley’s store around 11:45 Saturday night.

Moments later, they use a crowbar to break through the front door.

"They immediately turned in the proper direction to go to where the drone stuff was,” Whitley said. “And this is in pitch black."

Whitley said the thieves grabbed 15 drones and accessories, including cameras, worth around $80,000.

Drone theft is soaring across the country, because they are in demand and they have a high resale value on the street and online.

"I think they think it's an easy flip," Whitley said.

He said the thieves who hit the store also grabbed telescopes, another item that’s popular and easy to unload.

"They walked out, it looks like, with four telescopes, and these are not toy telescopes. They're $1,000-plus a piece," Whitley said.

Whitley hopes insurance will cover most of his losses. He said what bothers him most, though, is that the thieves grabbed donated toys from a Toys for Tots box in his store.

"For somebody to steal out of your Toys for Tots box is pretty bad," he said.

Whitley has put out an alert for the stolen drones. He said he has enough drones to carry him through the Christmas season, but he’s already ordered more.

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