Unusual break-ins at Chesterfield shopping center

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Crooks are busting through dry wall to steal from several Chesterfield businesses.

Security is being ramped up at the Pocono Green Shopping Center on Midlothian after six places were hit in the last two weeks. The most recent case was just this morning.

The crooks may be using a sledgehammer or crowbar to break in the back doors of vacant businesses and then once inside burrow through dry wall to get to the shops they're targeting. The lease manager says it's a lot of work for little payoff.

Six stores in two weeks, three have tenants: the latest target: Liberty Tax. A vacant business is next door. Pocono Green lease manager John Madures said the crook dropped in from the roof.

"It seems to be that the amount of work that they did was more vandalism than taking of property," said Madures.

Employees at Liberty Tax had been hearing noises throughout the night and when one of them came to the back room, he saw a man coming through the dry wall. That employee tells me it was too dark to get a good look at the guy. He saw him running away through the parking lot.

The day after Christmas, a recruiting station was hit at the other end of the strip center, same M.O. You can see the hole in the wall of a neighboring old restaurant.

"Knocked the sheet rock through the walls and then went in to the Coast Guard recruiting station and took some items," said Madures.

Trouble started at Pocono Green on December 14th when police say a burglar broke in to an old pub and sliced up the dry wall with a knife to get to the Hair Cuttery.There's no surveillance and no leads.

"The amount of valuables and no cash that were taken probably very small compared  to the amount of damages to the building which is going to be significant to repair and put back into order," said Madures.

Madures said security is now a top priority.

"We're working on lighting, [and] we're working on putting up cameras now," said Madures.

In the meantime, the lease manager says Chesterfield police will put more eyes and ears on the property. If you have information that could help Chesterfield police crack the case, call Crime Solvers, at 748-0660. 

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