UPDATED: Owners, police seek ‘black box’ in store burglary

Published 3:00 am Saturday, January 31, 2015

Editor’s note: updated at 3 p.m. Saturday with owners’ comments.

While others have tried before, the burglars who broke into the Piggly Wiggly store on Three Notch Street this week were the first to crack into the store’s safe.

“It’s been there a long time,” said Steve Garrett, who bought the nearly 35-year-old store from his father two years ago.  “We’ve had break-ins over the years, and that safe is a very old safe …  no one ever got into it until now.”

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Sometime between 9 p.m. Wednesday when the employees left and 5:55 a.m. Thursday, when the store manager returned to open, police say burglars broke through a cinderblock wall and gained access to the store. Once inside, the thieves cut into an ATM machine and broke into the store’s safe, stealing the cash inside both.

“They did a lot of damage,” Garrett said. “And they did a lot more damage than what they got out of it … they’re probably not happy with the results they got.”

Garrett said the burglars broke “a big hole” through the back wall of the store, and then used some type of tool to cut through the metal on both the ATM and the safe. Along the way, they used copious amounts of bleach to clean up, leaving the stench of Clorox and burning metal in the store on Thursday. “This wasn’t a smash-and-grab,” he said.

The burglars also stole the “black box” portion of the store’s video surveillance system, taking with them any video footage that could identify them. “They basically stole the camera system,” Garrett said. “And it’s probably been tossed out somewhere … that’s what we’re looking for now.”

The box is approximately two feet long, two feet wide and eight inches tall. “It’s got everything we need in it,” Garrett said.

Detectives processed the scene Thursday, but no leads have turned up yet, according to Lt. Bryan Weed of the Troy Police.

“Detectives came out and processed the scene in attempts to find fingerprints or any trace evidence that would help develop a lead in the case,” Weed said. “However, at this time, the situation is still under investigation.”

Because of the lack of video footage, Weed said the police department is doesn’t now how many suspects are involved or specifics about the time of the incident. Troy Police Department is currently asking anyone with information about the incident, to please step forward and share any information that could lead to an arrest.

“If anybody has information, please contact us at 556-0500, on our secret witness line at 566-5555 or Crime Stoppers at 215-STOP (7867).”