October 17, 2006
Officers say downtown business burglaries are on the rise, with more than two thousand this year.
The most recent were at five credit and loan offices: three on Ninth Street, one on Telfair, and one on Walton Way. The thieves only got away with a small amount of cash.
Thompson Wrecking Company has also noticed the increase. The downtown business was hit three times in just two days.
Doing business can be difficult when people are stealing your profits.
The recent increase in business break-ins is hurting Hiram Thompson's bottom line.
"We want to stay here," he told News 12. "It's just hard to stay here."
In just one week, Thompson lost more than $5000 in supplies. Now, he's using the money he earns to replace the things he lost.
In the first burglary, Thompson says someone took tools, supplies, and even radios from his trucks.
Then the suspects are accused of coming to a nearby renovation site, busting through the bay door, and getting into the building by climbing over the top.
Then they took more tools.
But David Pugh says it doesn't stop there. He says they pried the sides and top off of his air conditioning units and the ones at the business next door.
Then the next day, Thompson says they came back for his shrubbery.
Lt. Jimmy Young says crime waves like this usually go in cycles, and the recent spike is likely to fall.
"I've always looked at it like a fact of life, like the changing seasons," Lt. Young said. "We're moving into fall, temperatures will cool off...the same with crime."
That's a new trend Hiram Thompson is hoping for, as the burglaries continue to cost time and resources.
"We're basically bearing the brunt of the loss ourselves."
For business owners, keeping burglars out keeps the bottom line up.
It's not just the profits that are hurting here. It's a chain reaction. The business loses money, which affects the company, its employees, and eventually the customer.
The entire area around Thompson Wrecking is under Neighborhood Watch through the sheriff's office.