Rash of burglaries hits community

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Five happened last week

By Calen McKinney



There were five local burglaries last week, and local law enforcement officers say they only have suspects in one of the cases. They need the public's help to solve the rest of the crimes.

Three local stores were burglarized last week. A local home was also burglarized and someone tried to get inside a local jewelry store, but was unsuccessful.

Two of the burglaries might be linked, according to Campbellsville Police Chief Tim Hazlette, and another might have been committed by a group of criminals who have burglarized several businesses around Kentucky.

Last Tuesday, officers responded to a burglary at the Convenient Store on South Central Avenue at about 3:50 a.m.

According to a Campbellsville Police report, the store owner reported damage to fixtures inside and the theft of an undetermined amount of cash.

The burglar, who police believe is a man, was wearing black clothing, a mask and a toboggan. Police believe he used a tool to enter the store and then forced his way into the cash registers and an automatic teller machine.

The report states that police believe someone picked up the man at Campbellsville Laundry and Cleaners, which is next door.

Also on Tuesday, police officers discovered a broken window at Pruyear's Antiques on South Central. A report states that Officer Bart Gilpin was on patrol in the South Central area, saw the store's broken front window and then discovered a burglary had occurred. Gilpin entered the store to search for the perpetrator, but no one was found inside.

The investigation suggests that the window had been broken by a large rock. The owner discovered that four large signs, two large thermometer signs and several antique jugs were taken.

Taylor County Sheriff Allen Newton said his deputies investigated a burglary at a home on Tuesday, in which a television, an iPod and some games were stolen. Deputies have no suspects in the crime.

On Wednesday, police officers investigated an attempted break-in at Tucker Diamonds and Gold on Main Street. Someone attempted to break the glass in the front door and a front window. They were unsuccessful, however, and didn't get inside the store.

A police report states that Tucker's employees discovered the attempted break-in when they were opening the store Thursday morning. Since the burglar wasn't able to enter the store, Hazlette said, its alarm wasn't activated.

At 2:17 a.m. Wednesday morning, a police report states, a burglar entered Minit Mart on East Broadway by throwing a piece of concrete through the door. Hazlette said some cigarettes were taken, but he doesn't believe the burglar got any cash.

Officers are reviewing surveillance camera footage from several of the incidents, though Hazlette said it hasn't offered many clues as to the identity of those committing the burglaries.

Police believe the burglaries at Minit Mart and Pruyear's Antiques might be related, because they were committed in similar ways with a rock being thrown through a window. But, he said, that can't be known for sure.

A rock also might have been used in the attempted break-in at Tucker's, he said.

All of the businesses were closed when burglars arrived, Hazlette said, so no one was injured during the crimes.

Hazlette said it's suspected that a group of criminals committing similar crimes around the state might be responsible for the burglary at the Convenient Store on South Central Avenue. He said similar crimes have occurred in several cities from Bowling Green to Lexington.

"They were very tactical in how they approached it," Hazlette said. "They knew how the alarm system worked and where it was."

Those suspects are from Louisville, he said, and hadn't been arrested or charged as of last Thursday.

"There's a good chance it could be the same people."

Hazlette said there really is no explanation as to why so many burglaries were committed in a matter of days. But he said it's rare for the Campbellsville area.

"I don't know that there's a reason for it," he said. "People wanting something for nothing."

Though the amount of burglaries is unusual, Hazlette said he doesn't believe residents have cause for extreme concern.

"I don't think we need to sound the alarm," he said. "But at the same time, there's no need to be complacent."

Newton said warmer weather might be to blame.

"All these criminals have been cooped up," he said.

Hazlette said people should make sure their cars, windows and doors are locked at night, and to be cautious of people who look like they don't belong in an area. Most burglaries occur, Hazlette said, because someone left their car unlocked, their window open or their garage door partially ajar.

Hazlette said all suspicious activity should be reported to law enforcement. Those out during night hours, especially between 11 p.m. to about 5 a.m., should be especially cautious.

Newton said his officers recently helped Kentucky State Police troopers with a burglary investigation at Penn's Country Hams. A suspect has been identified in that case, and the items stolen have been returned. He said that case will be presented to a grand jury soon for possible indictment.

Solving burglaries like the ones at local homes and businesses can be hard, Newton said, because surveillance video often doesn't offer much help.

"It just takes time," he said. "We're lucky to solve what we solve."

So far, media reports haven't garnered any tips about the crimes, but Hazlette said he hopes people call and report anything that might help his officers.

"Never take anything for granted," he said. "Whether you live here or some other community, there's no place that's immune."

Newton said since the beginning of 2014, his deputies have investigated eight burglaries, and four have been solved, while the other four remain under investigation.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the police department at (270) 465-4122. Anonymous tips can be reported to the police tip line at (270) 469-PRIDE.