By Dusty Vassey

TIFTON -- A string of burglaries that started at the beginning of the week seems to have continued, as five more businesses in Tift County were broken into since Tuesday. Although it is unknown whether any or all of the burglaries are related, each of the 10 break-ins that have occurred since Monday involve either businesses or churches.

In all of the burglaries, similar methods have been used to enter the buildings, including doors or windows pried open or broken. In most cases, only petty cash has been stolen.

Some time between 6 p.m. and 11:08 p.m. Tuesday, someone broke into Tift County Tire Company on Seventh Street. A patrolling officer for the Tifton Police Department noticed glass broken out of the left front door of the business. The burglar had pried open a cash register and also rifled through the drawers of a desk. The owner told police that the cash register had been empty and that nothing seemed to be missing, despite many car stereos and speakers which could have been stolen. No visible fingerprints were found at the scene.

Some time between 9:30 p.m. Tuesday and 9 a.m. Wednesday, someone broke into Quality Auto Sales on Seventh Street by entering through a window on the southeast corner of the building. The burglar or burglars also unsuccessfully attempted to kick open a door on the south side of the building. After entry, drawers in the office were gone through, but nothing was missing from them.

Two sets of keys and the vehicles they belonged to were taken. One of the vehicles was a light green 1997 Chrysler Town and Country Van with a Quality drive-out tag. The vehicle identification number on the van is 1C4GP55R8VB311461. The second vehicle was a burgundy 1992 Honda Accord four-door sedan also with a Quality drive out tag. The VIN for the Honda is 1HGCB7675NA071248.

Because two vehicles were taken, it would seem to suggest that more than one suspect was involved in the automobile thefts.

The next night, someone hit another Quality Auto Sales, this time the dealership on Copeland Road.

Some time between 9:53 p.m. Wednesday and 12:03 a.m. Thursday, someone broke into the auto dealership, forcing in the back door. A patrolling TPD officer noticed the burglary and investigated. A Dell computer with a 15-inch monitor, valued at $2,000, was stolen. The burglar or burglars pried the lock off a filing cabinet, damaging it, and also broke the desk the computer had been sitting on. Other drawers had been gone through, and papers were scattered across the floor.

No keys were in the dealership when the crime occurred, so no vehicles were taken from the lot.

Some time between 6 p.m. Wednesday and 9:45 a.m. Thursday, someone broke into Carriage Cleaners on Tift Avenue by breaking out a glass door on the west side of the building. About $100 was taken in cash and change from a cash drawer. The tray that holds change was also taken.

Some time between 8 a.m. and 4:50 p.m. Thursday, someone broke into S and S Cabinet on Oak Ridge Church Road. The front door of the business had been broken but nothing appeared to have been taken. No prints were lifted from the scene.

These five burglaries happened after five similar burglaries earlier in the week.

Monday, someone broke into the First Baptist Church in Tifton, taking $500. Tuesday, someone broke into Tifton General Tire on Seventh Street and took $150. Also on Tuesday, someone broke into St. Anne's Episcopal Church on Central Avenue, but appeared to take nothing. Ten dollars was taken after a burglary at Michael Moore Auto Shop on Carpenter Road Tuesday. Also Tuesday, someone broke into Danny Bailey TV on Highway 41, taking a .38 caliber Charter Arms pistol and $5 in quarters.

To contact reporter Dusty Vassey, call 382-4321, ext. 208.

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