Burglar breaks in local grocer

Published 1:58 pm Tuesday, August 30, 2005

By By Adam Prestridge
The Escambia County Sheriff's Office is investigating an apparent burglary attempt at Hubbard's Grocery early Thursday morning.
According to an employee, she and another employee arrived at the store located at 2989 Hwy. 21 north in Atmore around 4 a.m. and noted that the window to the door was busted out. The two immediately went to the Atmore Police Department where an officer returned to the store with them to make sure no one was hiding in the store. The Escambia County Sheriff's Office was then contacted.
"She (employee) told us that she didn't notice anything missing, but apparently the suspect tried to break into the cash register," Escambia County Sheriff Grover Smith said.
Smith said the ECSO was contacted at 4:15 a.m. and a deputy arrived on the scene at 4:38 a.m.
Upon arrival, deputies observed that the suspect apparently tried to open the cash register with the cash register key and also with a knife to no avail. The employee believes the suspect did get away with some beer.
Smith said an investigation is ongoing, but it will be hard to find the suspect.
"We don't have any physical evidence from the scene to connect the burglar," Smith said. "So what we'll have to do is contact informants and hope that we develop some leads. It helps if you've got a little bit more physical evidence than what we've obtained from the scene. I'm sure whenever we catch him or her it won't be the only thing he or she's done."
Hubbard's Grocery owner, Joe Hubbard, said all the robberies of late concern him.
"It's rough because I know I'm not the only one (business) here," he said. "When they hit you, it tears you up."
Smith said there normally will be thefts, burglaries and robberies in the area, but not as many as there have been the past few of months.
"It's the symptom of the disease, methamphetamine and crack cocaine are slowly killing us," Smith said. "Virtually every crime we come in contact with, alcohol and drugs are involved, even domestic cases. Bad checks, credit card fraud, thefts, burglaries and robberies almost everyone of them link back to alcohol and drugs."
Not only have businesses been victims of these crimes, so have county residents.
"If you have a chainsaw, a weed eater or a generator, you better mark it very well so we can identify it if we find it in a pawn shop or we find it after somebody else buys it," Smith said.
Smith suggests that county residents mark their belongings with their driver's license number rather than their social security number.
"A drivers license number can be easily traced," Smith said. "We can't get social security numbers traced."
Some of the stolen goods end up in pawnshops or sold to individuals. Smith said having your driver's license helps in locating the goods.
"The pawn shops have been very cooperative in helping us recover the stolen property, but they're not just taking it to our pawn shops, they're taking it all over and out of sate," Smith said. "They're also selling it on the street corner."

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