Business owners fed up with string of break-ins - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Business owners fed up with string of break-ins

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When Wayne Wilkes showed up to work Friday morning he says the front door of his business had been smashed in. When Wayne Wilkes showed up to work Friday morning he says the front door of his business had been smashed in.
The truck crashed into a sports bar after the driver was shot. The truck crashed into a sports bar after the driver was shot.
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Earlier this week, the Richland County Sheriff's Department promised increased patrols of marked and unmarked units near Two Notch Road after a rash of burglaries have business owners fed up.

When Wayne Wilkes showed up to work Friday morning he says the front door of his business had been smashed in, but he's not surprised considering other businesses in the area have been targeted as well.

"We were aware that there was a group that was hitting dealerships," Wilkes said.

Wilkes, who owns Columbia Powersports on Two Notch Road, says other dealers have given him a heads up about recent break-ins to their stores earlier this week.

Wilkes says they tried to prepare for a break-in and have a security system but he didn't think he would be next.

"They did it the third night in the row and actually hit both our stores within an hour and a half," Wilkes said.

His second store on Fernandina Road was also broken into.

"They actually backed into the showroom walls and just knocked them in," he said.  

Wilkes says he was fortunate that after an hour of cleanup he was able to carry on with business for the rest of the day however, a sports bar down the road where a burglary suspect ended up crashing a truck, experienced much worse.

One of the burglary suspects was fatally shot early Friday morning and a second was hospitalized after Richland County sheriff's deputies tried to apprehend the two responsible for the break-in at Columbia Powersports.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is investigating.

Business owners say they want the break-ins to stop.

"Wells Fargo down the road, they shot that place up in broad daylight," pawn shop employee Todd Quattlebaum said. "You know last night here at 3 o'clock in the morning next door, you know it's a continuing problem."

Quattlebaum said the even with security systems in place, and the Richland County Sheriff's Department patrolling the area, they feel it necessary to have extra safeguards.

"At this establishment here me and the manager carry weapons on our bodies at all times while we're here more or less as a deterrent," Quattlebaum said. "Hopefully we never have to use them but we do that, we have a large capacity security system and bars on the windows, cameras, surveillance."

Anyone who may have information on those responsible for the break-ins in other Two Notch Road businesses is asked to call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.

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