Albany car dealers say thefts on the rise - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany car dealers say thefts on the rise

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Albany used car dealers say crime is up dramatically at their businesses.

Albany Police are investigating three thefts reported by car dealerships Tuesday.

Owners say the crimes are costly and frustrating because they can't find a way to stop criminals who continue to steal from them over and over again.

Thieves broke into cars at Lawson Auto Sales Monday night and stole radios and CD players. Several car dealers say that paying for crimes like that is increasing their cost of doing business. 

Another car at Lawson's Auto Sales broken into, the cd player and radio ripped out of the dash. Vice President Donovan Broome said they did not report crimes like this until it became an almost nightly event.

Broome said "But for the past couple of months it's gotten really bad. So we started making reports. And what I hear from the officers it's been not just us, but it's been really bad all over town."

Blocks away on West Ogelthorpe, a thief broke out the front window at Green Light Auto Sales, stole the keys to a 2004 Ford Explorer, and smashed through the dealership's gate to get away with the SUV. Today, a truck is blocking the smashed gate.  The Explorer is still missing.

Just two blocks away, One Source Auto reported a break in at their closed dealership. The manager did not want to go on camera, but he expressed frustration that nothing was ever done about repeated crime. Broome expressed the same feeling.

Broome said "If the car's locked they'll bust out the window to get it. So we've pretty much taken all the faces off the radios. Pretty much just leave the cars unlocked. I'd much rather replace a $100 cd player than replace a $200 window and a $100 cd player."

Broome said the dealership has security lights all around, surveillance cameras, and alarm systems, but the thieves keep coming. He is putting up more lights, but would rather not put up huge fences. Overnight security guards would cost too much, so he is running out of ideas how to stop the thieves.

 Broome said "Other than me sitting on top of my building, in the middle of the night, waiting for somebody to come by. And it just might get to that."

Crime is a taxing problem for small businesses like these car dealerships, leaving them frustrated by thieves who continue to target them.

Now you can see Lawson is right here on North Slappey, and most of these car dealerships are on some of the busiest roads in Albany. The thieves have to be bold to be breaking into cars and buildings right here.

The dealers we talked with today hope that if you drive by and see anything suspicious, especially at night, you'll call 9-1-1.

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