CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Burglars are targeting Chesterfield gas stations. Between late Sunday night and Monday morning, three businesses were hit, by the same crooks. Police responded to the Shell station on Midlothian Turnpike, the Bon Air BP on Forest Hill Avenue and the Uppy's on Hull Street Road.
Police say burglars had a busy night. They used a baseball bat to try to break an already damaged window. When that didn't work, they went around to the other side of this Uppy's cashier's shack and smashed the pad locks.
They used a baseball bat as their own kind of key. The two men got away with cigarettes and cash from the Uppy's Sunday night. John Cary says this is probably the third time in the last six months the chain has had to deal with burglars.
"I don't think anybody likes it for someone to just come in and take what's yours. It's one thing that they're stealing our stuff but the other thing is the disruption they do," he said.
One night of stealing for these guys has long range impacts for the locally owned company.
"The bottom line is that cuts into our profit. That cuts into what we can give back to the community as well as what we can keep for ourselves," said Cary.
The same night, crooks tried but failed to break into the Shell station on Midlothian Turnpike.
At the Bon Air BP, thieves did almost $500 worth of damage smashing the glass door, then stealing cigarettes.
Thanks to the security cameras, police know a little more about who they're looking for. That doesn't make Maryann Strober feel any better. The store has been robbed five times since she was hired two years ago.
"I'm scared all the time, even to walk out to clean the bathroom or walk out to my car. I mean the lights are on and they don't care," Strober said.
While they upgrade security equipment, store owners have a message for the crooks.
"We're going to catch you. The police are going to catch you and you're going to go to jail. When it happens we'll be very happy to just watch you rot in the jail cell," said Cary.
Police are hoping store owners continue to take measures to keep their businesses safe. They'll actually help you do that. Officers will come out and do free business security assessments to help shops eliminate any weaknesses. You can call 318-8699 for more information.