ATLANTA, GA — Atlanta Police said Saturday night they have made an arrest in the Nov. 19 murder of Chelsea Beller, a manager at the Barcelona Wine Bar in northwest Atlanta, and investigators are looking for more suspects in the fatal robbery. Samuel Ott, 21, was taken into custody on Saturday by the department’s Fugitive Unit after his DNA was matched to evidence linked to the crime scene, police said. Ott was charged with felony murder, aggravated assault, kidnapping and false imprisonment and transported to the Fulton County jail.
The robbery and homicide happened about 1:45 a.m. on Nov. 19 at the Barcelona Wine Bar, in west Midtown. The 29-year-old manager Beller was shot during the robbery and died soon afterward at Grady Memorial Hospital.
Blood evidence from clothing and other materials discarded near the crime scene shortly after the murder was given to the GBI Crime Lab for examination. Earlier in the week, investigators learned the DNA was reportedly a match to Ott, who has a previous criminal history.
“Our homicide investigators have worked tirelessly to pursue justice for Chelsea Beller and the other employees who were tied up, robbed and terrorized that night,” Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields said in a statement. “It’s only a matter of time before the evidence will lead us to the others who carried out this cold-blooded and cowardly act. … We will not rest until the other suspects are in custody.”
According to police, Beller was helping close up the bar when three men broke in and tied up employees with electrical tape. The suspects forced Beller, of Atlanta, to an office upstairs, where they made her open a safe and then shot her in the shoulder.
Once officers arrived, Beller was rushed to Grady Memorial Hospital, where she later died. The three robbers got away before police arrived.
Police said they’re working to identify the remaining two men shown in surveillance videos.
“No crime against our citizens, anywhere in the city, is acceptable. But the robbery and murder of an innocent restaurant manager doing her job is a terrible crime that has shocked even the most jaded among us here at APD,” said Carlos Campos, a police spokesman, at the time of the shooting. “These crimes are unacceptable, and we will not rest in our pursuit of shutting down these violent criminals.”
Police have shared surveillance images of the robbers and say one of them may have suffered severe cuts from a razor-wire fence during their escape.
A fundraiser to support Beller’s family has been set up on crowdfunding site GoFundMe. It had raised just over $27,000 as of Dec. 24.
The investigation into the murder continues, with more suspects remaining to be identified. CrimeStoppers Atlanta has again raised the reward by $5,000. The reward for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the remaining suspects now stands at up to $38,000. The standard CrimeStoppers reward is $2,000. Anyone with information can call CrimeStoppers at 404-577-TIPS (8477). Anyone providing a tip can remain anonymous and will not be required to testify at any point.
Chelsea Beller photo courtesy GoFundMe. Surveillance image courtesy Atlanta Police Department.