Booze burglars break-in Piggly Wiggly

Published 8:20 pm Wednesday, January 11, 2006

By Staff
Some thirsty thieves on a late-night beer run recently burglarized the Piggly Wiggly grocery store in McDavid, Fla.
Their booze cruise to the north end of Escambia County, Fla. has now triggered a countywide investigation following the burglaries of four more businesses in Cantonment, Fla.
An Escambia County (Fla.) Sheriff's Office (ECSO) deputy responded to the McDavid grocer the morning of Dec. 21, 2005 following a call from head cashier Joy Powe, who informed them on the scene that someone had broke in and stole several cases of Budweiser, Bud Lite and Busch beer.
"It looked like they used a sledge hammer to bust the back wall," store manager Guy Waller said. "They knocked a pretty good size hole in the blocks."
The ECSO did not release the incident report following the burglary in hopes of catching the crooks before they were tipped off, but following the other burglaries they began a countywide investigation.
According to Waller, once inside, the burglars flipped the breaker next to the store office, which makes him believe that the burglar is either a former employee of the store or someone who has been in the back warehouse and "scouted out the place."
"There's a breaker on the wall in back right above the hall and they turned it off, which didn't disarm the alarm system, but it did cut the camera system off," he explained. "We must have had some kind of glitch in our alarm system. We keep our breakers pretty well marked. Whoever done it, just clicked them off."
According to ECSO reports, the burglars stole approximately 300 cases of beer, which are valued at $15 each for a total of $4,500.
"It's hard to tell in the grocery business what all they got," Waller said. "There's so much stuff. They could have got other things, but we just don't know it. We had two big, gigantic displays up front and it was nearly empty. The beer guy also gave me estimate of about 300 after seeing what was gone and how much we had sold.
"We think they were in here for a pretty good while," Waller continued. "We have an alarm system, but for some reason it didn't go off like it should."
According to the sheriff's report, the security tape from inside Piggly Wiggly operated normal until 11 p.m. on Dec. 20, and then went blank before restarting at about 2:15 a.m. on Dec. 21.
"Whoever done this, knew exactly what they were doing," Waller said. "We have made some changes now that will upgrade our security."
The burglary marked the third time in 2005 the McDavid Piggly Wiggly had been robbed. Waller said the suspect in the first two burglaries is behind bars and said the Food Giant owned store plans to press charges.
"Whoever did this, I hope they catch them," Waller said. "I understand other businesses in the area have been broke in the same way. You've got a lot of honest people and some dishonest people. We lock the doors to keep the honest people out; the dishonest ones are going to find a way in."
Since the burglary, Waller said the store has upgraded its security system to catch anyone who attempts to break in again.
"If they do it again, they're going to get caught quickly," he said.
The other businesses robbed include Bird Brains Exotic Birds, Cantonment Coin and Laundry, Cantonment Feed and Supply and Exprezit gas station.
Investigators are asking anyone with information about these burglaries to call the ECSO at 436-9630 or Crimestoppers at 433-STOP.

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