Small Businesses on Hwy 155 Target in Rash of Burglaries - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/16/02 - Smith County

Small Businesses on Hwy 155 Target in Rash of Burglaries

   Small business along 155 in Smith County are taking it hard as burglars take-off with their high dollar items.

   Car Color was the target last week.

   "They just smashed in my front door and took everything they could possibly put in a bag," says Kelly Gabbard, Car Color Asst. Manager. "They took a bunch of paint guns and air tools. It's the second time we've been hit and it's kind of getting frustrating."

   United Rentals is feeling the frustration this week. A new glass door replaces one shattered Tuesday to get to $3000 in expensive power tools. That's just two of 8 burglaries, all businesses in 45 days on Highway 155 according to the Smith County Sheriff's Department.

  Noonday Tractor and Auction is on burglary number two. First it was a tractor, then an air compressor and tools.

  "It hurts, you got to come in a pay 1600 dollars for insurance on the tractor," says Cody Donahue with Noonday Tractor and Auction.

   Small businesses along 155 are getting wise to the burglars. At Dean's, they've added burglar bars in addition to the regular locks, also many businesses are adding alarm systems to deter the burglars.

   "We're always afraid. They haven't caught whoever is doing it so we just take precautions," says Dean Shreves.

   So small business owners are hoping the Smith County Sheriff's Department will step up patrol or maybe a passerby will see something and call sheriff's. That way, the burglars will be caught and the future of their 155 business will be saved.

   Sheriff's investigators say they have stepped up undercover patrol. They believe more than one group is involved in the string of burglars.

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