Thieves targeting businesses, work sites in Richmond Hill - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Thieves targeting businesses, work sites in Richmond Hill

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

Richmond Hill police say they are seeing a major increase in property crimes, specifically thieves who are targeting commercial businesses and work sites.

These are crimes of opportunity. Companies and businesses that use trailers, or heavy equipment usually try and lock that up or back the machines up against a wall to stop criminals from being able to open the doors. However, it is not working and the problem is not just here.

Crimes just like this are being reported in Savannah, Pooler and across Chatham and Bryan counties.

"One of the companies had $30-40 thousand in equipment stolen from them,” said Sgt. Doug Sahlberg, RHPD.

It is not a crime of violence, but it is impacting the lives and livelihood dozens of companies across Coastal Georgia.

They are stealing landscaping equipment, heavy machinery,” said Sgt. Sahlberg. "Well, it is easy money."

The Richmond Hill Police Department issued a warning after five separate robberies in the past week, from nurseries, to landscaping companies, to lawn shops.

"We do have video and surveillance of some people and cars but it is not good enough at this point to file anything,” said Sgt. Sahlberg.

Roy Newsome has been selling trailers for four decades. Many of his customers are victims themselves.

"In the past three months it seems to have escalated quite a bit, probably double what has been going on,” said Newsome, of Newsome Trailers.

Newsome says he is hearing about 10 o 20 cases a week of theft. He is selling out of locks and he is hoping police take notice. He says what once was a crime common in Savannah has spread.

"The crime is going into the rural areas, and headed into the small towns,” said Newsome.

We are not talking about a several hundred dollars here.

"You are going to have about $30,000 in a complete trailer,” said Newsome.

"What we have done is added extra patrol units. Added criminal detectives in unmarked cars that monitor specific areas where we have been hit in the past,” said Sgt. Sahlberg.

WTOC spoke to eight different victims Friday. All of them scared to go on camera because they feel they will be targeted again.

They did say off camera that many of them have beefed up their security, but did not want to share what they are doing.

In the meantime, if you ever see anything suspicious you are asked to call your local police.

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