Business owners unite to stop burglaries - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Business owners unite to stop burglaries

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March 14, 2006

Albany - It's becoming an almost nightly problem. Burglars are breaking into Albany business, 30 in the last six weeks. Sometimes the thieves leave empty-handed; other times they're stealing thousands of dollars worth of goods and money. The recurring break-ins have business owners on edge.

Burglars hit Wings and Things Restaurant on West Broad Avenue March 2nd around 2:30 in the morning, breaking the drive-through window to get in.

"They just took the entire cash register and headed for the back door," said owner Sandra Townsell.

The thieves stole a coke machine and some wiring from an ice maker behind the store before making their get-away.

Townsell said, "I think it's real sad that they choose to steal rather than to go out and work."

Owner Sandra Townsell said the cash register was nearly empty, but the break-in cost her hundreds of dollars. She had to repair her door, window and a broken air vent and buy a new cash register.

"It scary and disheartening."

And it's happening in all parts of the city. There have been nearly 30 burglaries in Albany since February 1st, along Slappey Boulevard, Dawson Road, Broad Avenue and elsewhere. Thieves even broke into Children's Friend daycare on Baldwin Street, but were scared off by an alarm.

"I think as business owners, we should come together and form a force greater than there's," said Townsell.

Albany Police agree. They're encouraging businesses to start crime watch groups, much like the neighborhood watch program.

Lt. Kenn Singleton said, "We will come out and give them better ideas about how to secure their businesses and what to be on the look out for."

Townsell says she'll start a Business Watch Group in her area because if owners don't look out for each other, the thieves will continue to target them.

Police are also stepping up patrols in problem areas but since the burglaries often happen at night and take just minutes, it's hard to catch and prosecute the thieves.

For more information about starting a Business Watch, contact the Albany Police Department at 229-431-2100.

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