String of Break-Ins in Halifax Have Business Owners Concerned

Halifax, VA - Several business owners in Halifax are not too happy after learning they were the victims of a string of break-ins Wednesday night.

Five business along South Main Street in Halifax were burglarized.

Now some of those business owners are blaming a lack of police presence in the town for their businesses being targeted.

They stole cash, electronics and a firearm from the five stores.

Police are investigating, but it has some wondering what will it take for the town to hire more police officers.

Betsye Throckmorton has had a restaurant on South Main Street for years, but this is the first time she has ever dealt with a break-in.

"When I went to unlock my door, basically it was like it had been pried open, " said Throckmorton.

The thieves stole hundreds of dollars and an Internet cable from The Packhouse Cafe, but for other businesses, the items stolen are pretty hard to replace.

"This was a terrible loss... the two laptops that were my associate's that contained all her information, " said attorney John E. Greenbacker.

Now many are left wondering - where were the police?

"Maybe some presence that time of night would definitely stop some of what is going on now, " said Throckmorton.

The Halifax police department is staffed by three officers, and one is on leave.

Acting Chief David Irby says they are at an extreme disadvantage without a full staff.

"We as a police department, anytime the issue is brought up, always 'complain' if you will that we do not have enough people to satisfactorily cover the town 24 hours a day, " Irby said.

Irby says Town Council felt that there was not enough need to hire additional officers.

He hopes this incident will encourage them to bring in enough officers to protect the community.

"It is extremely important for the safety and security for the people in the town of Halifax and the business owners in the town of Halifax that we are fully staffed, " Irby said.

Irby said a full staff would consist of six officers.

He is still investigating the crimes.

South Boston police have confirmed that a convenience store there - not far from the Halifax locations - was burglarized last night as well.

No word on any connection with the other break-ins.