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Three break-ins in three weeks: Asheville police monitor ‘uptick’ in burglaries

KIFI

By Hannah Mackenzie

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    ASHEVILLE, North Carolina (WLOS) — A string of burglaries across downtown Asheville has business owners frustrated and on edge.

Three businesses on Patton Avenue were hit within a three-week span, Asheville Police Lt. Jonathan Brown said.

Blue Dream Curry House was targeted first. Bartender and server Jonathan Cerrud said the culprit stole a few dollars and a bottle of booze.

“They threw a brick through this window, smashed the whole bit,” Cerrud said. “We even had our logo on the window. It was all over the place.”

Next door, Empire Tattoo and Piercing was next. Manager Greg Phipps said a man kicked his foot through the large front window.

“It’s a huge hole, and it spiderwebbed all the way up through there,” Phipps said. “We taped it to keep it from falling down until the glass guys can come and remove it.”

And most recently, someone pulled a smash-and-grab at Salon Dragonfly, making off with $125, co-owner Janice Jones said.

“They destroyed behind the desk, the chairs were on the floor, and the cash drawer was taken out and thrown on the floor,” Jones said. “They took the paper – the cash. They didn’t take the coins and it was loaded with coins. There’s probably $20 – $40 worth of coins there, so they were just in a big hurry to grab the paper and run.”

The three targeted downtown Asheville businesses are just 350 feet apart.

“It seems to be similar M.O. in terms of the suspect or suspects have been using a rock that they have thrown through the front glass or the front window of the business to gain entry,” Brown said.

According to Brown, year-to-date, Asheville saw 21 burglaries in 2021. This year, there have been 32 burglaries. That’s a 52.38% increase. Brown said it doesn’t qualify as a spike though, just an uptick.

“I think a spike is statistically going to be more formidable in terms of the number of events, higher frequency,” Brown said. “This uptick is certainly something we’re paying attention to.”

Brown didn’t have burglary arrest rates on hand. He said he would work on getting News 13 the data.

As for burglary suspects, Brown addressed allegations from community members that homeless people are to blame.

“I don’t know that I would paint with such a general broad brush to say that that is typically what we’re seeing,” he said.

According to Brown, there are a number of ways to deter burglars: Lock your doors, keep valuables out of sight, invest in security and surveillance systems – and make sure they’re operational.

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