LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – It is a crime story that could have been ripped from a major crimes headline. Burglars break-in through the back door of a local business and go straight for the safe.
Lufkin Police investigators say it looks like a well planned burglary, one that the thieves prepared for and apparently executed without anyone noticing them in action.
"Initial information shows that the burglars forced open the rear doors to the business and cut open a safe. We don't know what tools were used or what was gained from the safe at this point," Detective J.B. Smith said.
A store employee discovered the crime shortly before 8 Monday morning. "We didn't receive an alarm call, the burglars disconnected the power to the building and someone defeated the alarm, or appears to have defeated the alarm," Smith said.
Investigators say preliminary results indicate that sometime between 9:30 Sunday night and 7:45 Monday morning, someone disconnected the building's electricity, forced open the rear entry door to the building, and once inside, forced open a safe. When they arrived, police found smoke within the building and called Lufkin Fire Department, however, there was no fire, or fire damage.
The store was closed for the day as investigators searched the crime scene. Customer after customer had to turn around as they realized the store, located off Deans Way, was closed for business.
One neighboring store owner said he was concerned by the news. "Sure it concerns me that anybody would break in. I've never really been broken into and we lock things up pretty well, don't leave anything in the store, but it certainly it concerns me," Paul Abney, owner of Abney & Sons Hardware, said. "It's a shame that we have to put up with stuff like this, but it's always been there and always will be."
"We've had investigators, we've had officers, and we've had our crime scene unit out there collecting evidence from the scene going to neighboring businesses looking for any possible evidence," Smith said. He said if anyone has any information that might help them solve this crime, call Lufkin Police or Crime Stoppers, if you don't want to give your name.
"There's simply not enough man power for the police department to be on top of every business and residence throughout the night and to burglarize a business like this with no active alarm, says they prepared for it."
"We're always looking, and the police department is very good and cooperative. We've used them before, shoplifting and one thing or another, but we're always on our toes," Abney said.