Burglars make biz ownership extra hard - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Burglars make biz ownership extra hard

By Len Kiese - bio | email

(June 23, 2008)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Burglars are ripping off Albany businesses. It's tough for some owners to keep their doors open.

Albany Police say they've seen an increase in business burglaries. They're developing an action plan and stepping up patrols in certain areas. But it's not just up to them.  Police say business owners need to take steps to deter thieves from trying to steal.

25 years ago, Gilbert Udoto wanted some financial independence. "I wanted to work for myself," said Udoto. So he opened his own business, a music store in East Albany.

"My business is very important because my business is me. I'm the business," said Udoto. Something that important has to be protected.

"You have to do everything to protect your business because your business is your livelihood," said Udoto. But that livelihood for some business owners is being threatened by thieves. Just down the street from Udoto's business on East Oglethorpe, Darsey Oil Company was hit this past weekend. Burglars caused damage and made away with money and $500 worth of oil.

"When we see that there's an area that is being targeted by burglars, we try to come up with a plan of action and one way is to increase patrols in that area," said Phyllis Banks-Whitley with Albany Police.

In that same area, Stainless and Alloy Piping on Sands Drive was hit. Thieves forced their way in and stole more than $3,700 worth of equipment. Police offer tips to help prevent the same from happening to others. "The number one thing business owners can do to protect their property is invest in a great alarm system," said Banks-Whitley.

Keep the area well lit.  Have tamper proof locks and try to invest in a camera system. It could pay off in the long run. "Surveillance video has been a great way for us to go back and look at an incident that has occurred," said Banks-Whitley.

With two decades in the biz, Udoto has taken steps to avoid being hit by burglars. "And if you look around my store, you see that everything is visible," said Udoto.

You'll see the visible defenses all around his store.  There are alarms and even bars on the doors. "The first thing you have to do is make sure the thieves cannot get into your business," said Udoto.

Keeping thieves out reminds him of the reason he went into business--to make money, not lose it.

Just last week, police captured five burglars accused of stealing more than $7,500 worth of clothes from an Albany clothing store. Albany Police will come out and give business owners tips on how to protect their property. All you have to do is give them a call.  

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