Ridgeland business owners worried after string of burglaries
RIDGELAND, SC (WTOC) -
Businesses along Ridgeland's Jacob Smart Boulevard have become the main target for some brazen thieves over the past several weeks.
Ridgeland Police said the old SCE&G Building, BP gas station, Family Dollar store and the Advance Auto Parts store were the latest targets, but it's how the thieves are getting in the buildings that has police believing they're all connected.
Police say the culprits are cutting holes in the brick walls, using a sledgehammer or maybe even a chainsaw.
They've only targeted businesses along Jacob Smart Boulevard and owners are on alert, but they say the police need to catch these people now.
"As a business owner, I'm worried myself," said Keefe Blatchley. "I have two businesses here in Ridgeland."
The first business hit was SCE&G. The suspects cut a hole around the window, and when they got inside, they created a huge mess while they looked for money.
They found it in the form of a safe, which they were able to cut in to.
A few weeks later, the suspects hit the PB Gas Station and the Family Dollar. They again cut a hole in the wall to get in both buildings.
The suspects stole an ATM, numerous other items and an undisclosed amount of cash from the register.
The latest in the string of burglaries was the Advance Auto Parts on the street. The thieves cut a hole in the wall of the establishment but did not take anything. Police said the hole was too small.
The suspects are still at large, and these business owners think they may come back. If they do, Joe Sauls, owner of A1 Towing and Auto Care, will be ready for them.
Before Sauls purchased the building his business is currently in, it used to be Al's Wrecker Shop, which was burglarized in January. Now, Sauls has added new doors and locks and 30 brand new high-definition cameras.
"So if somebody does break in, we'll at least get a good picture of them" said Sauls. "There's only so much you can do though."
"It concerns me that they can't seem to find anyone who's doing the break-ins," said Gladys Jones of Brankin' Basement. Brankin' Basement, also located on the same street, was broken into back in March.
"These folks need to be in jail," she said. "And they're brazen enough to be right here on Main Street and breaking in, instead of the stores that are not so obvious."
Police are still investigating the break-ins, but they don't have any leads on suspects yet. They do believe, however, that the culprits aren't local.
If you have any information on any of these incidents, please contact the Ridgeland Police Dept. or South Carolina Crimestoppers.