Aberdeen police chief urges business owners to upgrade security to curb break-ins

By Ray Van Dusen/Monroe Journal

ABERDEEN – Following five break-ins this week, Aberdeen Police Chief Henry Randle is asking owners of local businesses to help the department in its investigations by considering security systems.

“I want to encourage businesses to upgrade their security. [Big Star owners] Jeff and Susan Doty’s awareness has curbed break-ins on their grounds because of a security system and if it’s feasible, I ask others to do the same. We need something to look at to help us in these investigations,” Randle said.

The subject who broke into Reflections Salon, Kimmel’s Bakery and Lana B’s Consignment shop during the weekend was caught on Big Star’s security camera and Randle said the department is close to narrowing down a suspect because of that help.

Video images help the APD analyze body build and posture to help point the investigation in the right direction.

Highway 145 North businesses, Harvey’s B-B-Q and Shelaine Restaurant, were broken into the latter part of the week as well. The entry point in both cases matched the same method of operation.

“Someone got into Shelaine’s through a suction fan. They bent one of the fans back and got through a very small opening,” Randle said.

The subject who broke into Harvey’s B-B-Q pushed an air conditioning unit inside the building and entered, taking cigars and lighters and tearing up the business’ cash register. Randle said whoever broke into Shelaine’s either sometime Thursday evening or early Friday morning took cash. Randle asked businesses to not leave cash in the register after closing time as well.

“I believe it’s some of the same ones from the last time break-ins. Now they’re taking cash instead of items that can be traced back to them,” Randle said.

Aberdeen faced a wave of break-ins during the wintertime and less cases have been reported following the arrest of Randle’s nephew, Oleathia J. Randle. Randle said his nephew has been sentenced to three years and six months in custody as a result of possession of stolen property. Randle and a 17-year-old were both charged with the breaking and entering of B&M Pawn Shop, which was broken into Feb. 10.

The APD performs nightly checks at the town’s businesses, but given the events of this week, he has beefed up patrols both in patrol cars and on foot.

“I’ve spoken to police chiefs in other areas and everyone is dealing with the same problem. I’ve heard of people robbed at gunpoint and we’ve been blessed it hasn’t been that bad here. People don’t realize how many homeless people are living here. With break-ins, some are just plain criminals and some are just out for food,” Randle said.

Anyone with any information in regards to the recent break-ins is asked to call the APD at 369-6454.