Authorities see spike in car dealership burglaries - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Dealership burglaries on the rise

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Police say suspects rammed a fence at a dealership with a car to steal the car. Police say suspects rammed a fence at a dealership with a car to steal the car.
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Police are searching for the one last suspect involved in several burglaries at automobile dealers on Savannah's south side on Thursday.

Not only did the three suspects get away with an SUV, Dale Critz Jr. says they took keys to three other loaner vehicles, 10 laptops and even a portion of the fence.

The robbers used a Buick Enclave to ram through the fence at Critz Buick GMC just after midnight. They had to hit the fence several times before it would even budge. Police say the men then drove over to the Vaden Signature dealership nearby, before they were spotted running into the woods behind the dealership. Two of the men were arrested.

Critz Jr. said thankfully the vehicle and the keys were returned, but the laptops are still missing.

"They did steal 10 laptops that technicians use to diagnose cars," said Critz Jr. "They broke our loaner key box off the wall and were able to break into it."

If you have any information that might help with the investigation and search for a third suspect, call police or CrimeStoppers.

An officer was taken to Memorial after suffering a medical condition during the arrest. He is in stable condition.

There has been a rash of dealership break-ins in the area and around the country. Now, dealerships such as Critz are installing more secure fencing and locking away all keys.

Critz Jr. said that because they were forewarned about similar activities that have happened at other dealerships, he installed secure boxes to store all customer keys. He believes that box is the reason the thieves didn't get away with more than an SUV, a few keys and laptops. But the men were able to break into the loaner key box that was on the wall.

Critz Jr. said he will take even more steps to prevent the growing crime trend.

"We will have a more secure key box for loaner cars and possibly look at how our fencing is designed and make it a little more durable," said Critz. "That won't keep people from jumping fence, but if they have to try and take stuff up over the fence. That limits what can be stolen."

The Georgia Dealers Insurance Company sent out several emails to dealerships about recommended precautionary measures they could take against burglaries such as installing more surveillance cameras and locking away all keys.

Critz Jr. said security for keys is paramount.

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