Metro police are searching for some cunning crooks that have been hitting Donelson and Hermitage area businesses.
Over the past several weeks, burglars have used creative ways to break inside.
At The Crossings shopping center off Lebanon Pike, crooks broke into Mirko Pasta and made of with several thousand dollars on May 29
They then busted through a wall of Mirko Pasta to gain access to the business next door, crawled through their ceiling and dropped down through the ceiling of $1.99 Cleaners.
“We were somewhat shocked, but also devastated, that someone would come through the ceiling like this,” $1.99 Cleaners employee Zachary Carden said. “I was surprised because I had never seen anything like that.”
The crooks were stopped when they broke through the cleaner’s wall to gain entry to the Vittles restaurant, where an alarm scared them off.
Now, owners and employees take extra precaution when they lock up for the night.
“When we leave, our boss always checks everything twice and makes sure everything is in place because that definitely changes the way you look at things,” Carden said.
At Qdoba on Old Hickory Boulevard, crooks used a similar method to break into the restaurant on May 15. They came through the ceiling to get inside.
Metro police have not said if the ceiling break-ins are connected and will not comment on specifically what they are doing to catch the crooks.
But at Dick’s Flowers, which is in the same shopping center as $1.99 Cleaners, the owner Larry Keeton said he is seeing a bigger police presence.
“When I open up, I see notes under my door saying that an officer has checked on my store overnight,” he said. “I even get them on my back door, so they are checking front and back.”
Keeton’s store was not broken into during the May 29 break-ins, but burglars have targeted his flower store in the past.
While the store next to his was being built, someone smashed in the front window of his shop.
“There is just no explaining the feeling,” Keeton said. “It is devastating to think that someone with that kind of moral would kick in the front door and walk through it.”
He continued,” We had never had a burglary in 50 years.”
The burglars got away with computers, cameras, money and a gun.
“You know what worries me every night? That gun they took from me,” he said. “I mean what has that been used for?”
Metro police urge anyone who sees suspicious activity in their neighborhood or near a business to call Crime Stoppers at 615-74-CRIME.