Burglars Hit Area Businesses

Wednesday, June 27th 2007, 2:27 pm
By: News On 6

Tulsa detectives have been swamped with a string of commercial burglaries in recent weeks. Burglars are breaking into businesses and stealing mostly computer and electronic equipment. News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright reports several businesses were hit near 41st and south Sheridan, as well as near 81st and Sheridan and Yale.

Rhonda Newman just opened her shop, Pear Tree, last November, and it's been off to a roaring start. She hit a big roadblock a few weeks ago when her alarm company called her in the middle of the night.

"When I walked in, it was just stunning as I was looking, and the door had been broken, glass all the way out the front door to the hedges,” Newman said.

Someone had thrown a rock through her front glass door and taken her computer and cash drawer. She's thankful they didn't take or vandalize her merchandise, but losing the computer hurt.

"With that goes all my financial information, all the things important to a small business like data collected on all the customers to this point," said Newman.

A glitch in her alarm system has now been fixed, but Newman’s shop wasn't the only target that night. You can still see the scuff marks on the front doors of the two businesses next door where someone try to break through them with a rock, but failed.

Burglars came back just last week and did get in another business in the same center.

"I get frustrated and very mad when I see it happening over and over again,” Newman said. “I wonder what can we do to make this go away? What do we need to do?"

Burglars can be tough to catch since many times there's no videotape, physical evidence or witnesses. There's also the revolving door problem, where many times, burglars get arrested, get out and start right back up again.

Take Russell Johnson for example. He most recently pleaded guilty to burglary in late 2005 and got a four year prison term. He was released June 11th and rearrested just a couple of days later for charges including burglary, driving a stolen car and running from police.

There is nothing to indicate Johnson was in anyway involved with the south Tulsa burglaries. The owner of the Pear Tree now drives through the business center after hours to check the stores.

All the store owners have agreed to leave their lights on at night, and she's organizing a merchant meeting with police.

Watch the video: Spike In Business Burglaries