Bastrop business owners scared by series of burglaries

Over the last three weeks, more than 10 businesses have been broken into in Bastrop, some of them more than once.

The burglaries have been happening at night and in most cases the suspects are taking cash registers though that is not always the case.

Business owners say it's gotten so bad, they are afraid to leave at night.

Carol Driggers said her hair salon has been targeted by burglars twice in the last few weeks.

"We're doing everything we can to try to protect our business and so has everybody else and we're all worried. We're like, 'Are they gonna come back?' We don't know," said Driggers.

The suspects have broken through her window, stolen products from her salon, cut her phone lines and turned off her electricity. Luckily, Driggers doesn't have a cash register, but the threat of more break ins keeps her up at night.

"None of us feel safe now. We have people waiting for us and we're taking more precautions," said Driggers.

Bastrop police said more than ten business owners have been hit by burglars in the last three weeks, but officers are staying very tight lipped about the investigation and will not release any identifying information about the suspects they are looking for.

"I mean, it's out of control. And they can't catch them because we don't have enough police force," Driggers said.

Next door to Carol's salon is Create a Cig, another business burglars broke into recently.

"They were just cleaning off my cabinet. They stole all of my nicotine, 40 bottles of flavoring," said Cheryl Bleeker who manages Create a Cig.

Bleeker said a neighbor found a lot of her stolen products on the ground nearby, but her losses were in the thousands.

"We even considered sleeping up here at night," said Bleeker.

A gas station across the street caught some surveillance video after burglars broke into the Island Sun hair salon. The video was already turned over to police, but gas station employees said there were three people in the video. Unfortunately, it was too dark to make out any kind of identifying features.

"We have a fear of them coming in during the day or when we're leaving our businesses at night. We're leaving on lights and opening blinds so it's noticeable if it happens at night," Driggers said.

Business owners said police have stepped up patrols and installed security cameras on Chestnut Street.

"They're awful bold, but they'll get caught. I have complete faith," said Bleeker. 

Until the suspects are in custody, Carol said the local business community will be on edge. Especially hair salon owners, because the burglars have broken into eight different hair salons so far.

"We could call them the hair salon bandits," said Driggers.

Bluebonnet Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for any information that could identify the suspects.

Anyone with information about the burglaries is asked to call Bluebonnet Crime Stoppers or the Bastrop Police Department.

Web tips can be submitted on their website or through their tip hotline. 

You can also call 512-332-8602 if you have any information about the burglaries.

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