Downtown business broken into again - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Downtown business broken into again

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September 7, 2007

Albany -- For the second night in a row bold thieves broke into a couple of downtown Albany businesses. The owners of several businesses at the corner of North Washington Street and West First Avenue think a serial burglar is repeatedly targeting them.

 Take a look at these bars, bent wide.  Once again this second story window is how a thief or thieves broke into Sizemore Brothers Plumbing in Downtown Albany. It's the fourth time in two weeks they have been burglarized, the second time in two days. Owner James Sizemore says "he's not giving up."

Investigators fingerprint the window where the thief pried the outside bars open, and then bent the bars on the inside and crawled inside. Sizemore said "it tells me he knows how much time he's got. He's familiar with the neighborhood."

Overnight Thursday someone broke into their fenced yard and stole $11,000 worth of lawn equipment. Friday morning they believe the same thief came back, ripping out the phone lines, breaking into the same second story window used in the first two burglaries. Sizemore installed double sided key deadbolts on all doors throughout his business, and that kept the thief from getting inside his office. Sizemore said "you can see the base board he pulled off the door frame to try to get to the inner lockings. I don't know what stopped him."

 The thief walked away empty handed. But they believe the same person went across the street to Erickson's Fork Lifts. Someone somehow slipped in this small back window, taking tools and ransacking the office. It's the second time in two weeks they have been hit. Erickson's Fork Lifts technician Jim West said "he's got some loose screws up there, he does. I couldn't fathom going into a place and coming back. That's asking for trouble."

For the last two weeks, every business around North Washington and West First has been targeted. Susie's Rugs and Pillows was broken into two weeks ago, and they are on guard. Susie's Plant Manager Danny Highfill said "I look around. I catch myself looking at the windows before I come in in the morning, because they came in one of our windows in the back."

 Despite barb wire fences and bars over all the windows, someone cut the power to Richter Contracting two weeks ago, but they think their guard dogs scared them off. The Business owners keep increasing their security, but this bold thief keeps coming back. Sizemore said "we thought we were messing with some guy after a quick change to go buy some drugs. But apparently that's not it, this guy's determined."

 Investigators have his fingerprints, and say they have some leads, but the break ins continue, and so does the business owner's frustration.

Albany Police scheduled a meeting with downtown business and property owners to discuss their crime problems. It's scheduled for Wednesday, September 12,  at 6 P-M at the Law Enforcement Building.

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