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‘It’s an easy flip:’ Thieves stole $80K worth of drones, ransacked Toys For Tots box

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CUMMING, Ga. -- While drones might top a lot of Christmas lists, the same might be true for thieves. Two men in Georgia stole $80,000 worth.

"Our primary business is the UAV industry, drones," said Cliff Whitley, owner of AtlantaHobby.com. "Flies great. Beautiful photography out of it."

Whitley has a passion for drones but never imagined his would go flying out the door in the hands of brazen burglars.

"Makes you mad," said Whitley. "Costs a lot of money."

Surveillance cameras were rolling when the thieves parked a white van at the back of the store around 11:45 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30. Moments later, they used a crowbar to break through the front door.

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

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

"One of our systems was close to $35,000," said Whitley.

Thefts like this have happened across the country with drones in high demand. They have a high resale value on the street and online.

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

The thieves who hit this store also grabbed telescopes -- another item that is popular and easy to unload.

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

Whitley said he was hopeful insurance would cover most of the losses, but he said he was bothered by the fact that these cold-hearted thieves ransacked a Toys For Tots box in his store.

"For somebody to steal from the Toys for Tots box...that's pretty bad," said Whitley.

Whitley put out an alert for the stolen drones and said he had enough to carry him through the holiday season -- but ordered more after this theft.

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