Months-long trend has accelerated in recent weeks
A rash of burglaries targeting businesses over the past few months has picked up steam with at least six Crescent City businesses being hit in the past three weeks.
The most recent crime wave started with a break-in at Divine Salon and Spa on July 18. Salon owner Sandra Jackson said that the burglars took tools and trashed her business by ripping open cabinet doors.
“They also went through the garbage cans,” Jackson told the Triplicate. “I guess that is to find Visa and debit receipts from clients. I don’t have that kind of stuff there, thank God.”
The burglars also made off with some of Jackson’s personal documents, which included her home address.
“I felt very vulnerable; then I felt very violated, and I also felt uncomfortable because now these people know where I live,” said Jackson.
The very next day, on Aug. 19, Ming Tree Real Estate’s office was burglarized. The subjects took four laptop computers and four cameras. In all, thousands of dollars worth of equipment was taken, but possibly the biggest blow was the autographed baseballs and softballs along with antique fishing equipment stolen from the office of owner Bill Wigley.
“The sad thing is they won’t even know what they are — who autographed them because they can’t even read them,” Wigley said. “The antique fishing stuff is pretty much irreplaceable.”
Cindy Hoffman was a little luckier when Blue Star Gas, where she is a customer service representative, was burglarized on July 26 by breaking a window to gain entrance.
Hoffman had a football autographed by her son, local football star Cody Hoffman, who is playing for the Washington Redskins, near her desk at the time of the burglary. The football has since been moved off the premises.
“That was the first thing that I checked,” Hoffman said. “It is for a fundraiser, and I had it in here because somebody was going to come and get it.”
Although the football survived the burglary, the subjects were still able to escape with around $1,000 cash, according to now-retired Crescent City Police Chief Doug Plack. Hoffman said a tablet and her personal police scanner were also taken in the burglary.
“It was an invasion of our space. It was my personal police scanner that I had brought from home,” Hoffman said. “It is just weird that somebody was in here that shouldn’t have been touching all of our stuff.”
This week alone there have been four burglaries or attempted burglaries reported to the police department. On Monday, Pacific Power reported that they had a break-in overnight. Access to the property was gained by cutting the barbed wire, and the burglar broke a lock on a storage shed, although nothing was taken, according to Interim Police Chief Calvin Scott Berry.
Tuesday, the Dance Art Studio reported that it had been burglarized sometime over the weekend when they came back to find the front door open and cash missing, Berry said.
On Wednesday morning Papa Murphy’s reported that its business had been broken into sometime overnight, and later that afternoon Pizza King also reported to the Crescent City Police Department that it appeared someone had tried to pry open the door to the business, although they were unsuccessful in gaining entry, according to police call logs.
Protecting your business
The Crescent City Police Department is looking into each of the burglaries, but it is unclear which cases, if any, are related at this time.
“Burglaries are always a high priority,” Berry said. “I don’t like the thought of somebody violating someone else’s space, so that is always something that we take seriously.”
Before leaving office on July 31, Plack suggested several ways in which business owners could discourage burglaries, including alarms, motion detectors and indoor video surveillance.
“Those things give (law enforcement) an avenue to investigate,” Plack said.
Jackson said she has already had bars and screens installed on the windows and doors to help prevent unwanted entry into her salon. Blue Star Gas installed an alarm system and is planning to install surveillance around the building.
Wigley said he is also looking into improving security after Ming Tree’s recent break-in.