Rolling restaurant ripped-off - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Rolling restaurant ripped-off

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April 21, 2008

Albany --  An Albany business has a nearly $30,000 piece of equipment stolen from their parking lot, right next to Slappey Boulevard in the heart of the city. The business owner says he is so worried about crime he is sleeping at his warehouse.

Police say they are catching more business thieves, because of high tech security measures.

Patricia Kalka holds the broken lock in her hand, that she and her brother used to chain their concession wagon in the parking lot of USA Restaurant Equipment, right next to North Slappey. Someone broke the lock and stole the $29,000 rolling restaurant overnight.

USA Restaurant Equipment Company Business Owner Patricia Kalka said, "I never thought that they, with the lock on, just come here and take it away. How could they take somebody else's property."

The Kalka's have had lots of thefts and burglaries in the 23 years they have run their Albany business. Last year after burglars cut a hole in their roof, Steven Kalka started sleeping in his business.

"We have to try. We have to protect my business. I can't leave this building unprotected," Kalka said.

Crime is a major worry for these business owners,like many others.  " Yes, I am scared. I am scared," Patricia Kalka said.

Police say business burglaries in Albany are not increasing or decreasing, averaging about 30 a month.

"What is one the rise is the number of clearances of burglaries. We've have more arrests made based on business owners taking extra steps to protect their businesses," Albany Police Lt. John Prickett said.

Detectives say they are making arrests in 15 percent of business and home burglaries in Albany. Police say improved surveillance cameras is a good way business owners can stop crooks. Like April third when this thief broke into Bruster's Ice Cream, and the surveillance pictures were shown on WALB, and Police received dozens of calls ID'ing the crook.

"Take that extra step, getting some kind of camera system. Some type of alarm, some kind of extra step that will protect your business," said Detective Schemika Foster. 

The Kalka's are trying a different tack to catch the thief who stole their concession wagon this morning, offering a five thousand dollar reward for information leading to their arrest and conviction.

Investigators say one trend they have seen, more of the business burglars they are arresting are disgruntled former employees that come back and break in where they used to work.

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