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2012-01-12

Spate of break-ins in Medina & beyond

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Old Timers, a popular convenience store and gathering place for residents, located on Highway 16 North in Medina, was the latest area business to be burglarized in the last six weeks, according to Capt. Charlie Hicks of the Bandera County Sheriff's Office.

Due to an ongoing investigation, details on the series of burglaries are sparse. However, a call to emergency dispatch came in at 6:19 am on Monday, Jan. 9, reporting the break-in at Old Timers. After responding to the call, Deputy Mike Wedgworth called in Investigator Cherie Green of the BCSO Criminal Investigation Division.

It appeared that earlier that morning, after cutting electricity to the building, which rendered the security cameras inoperable, thieves entered the store and made off with a quantity of cigarettes.

"The MO (method of operation) was the same used in earlier burglaries," Hicks said, "which leads us to believe this burglary was committed by the same suspects. It also looks like all they're after is cigarettes."

The crime spree might have begun on Nov. 25, when someone attempted to access a coin machine at a laundry mat and carwash located in the 13000 block of Highway 16 North. "The suspects failed to enter the coin machine, so the attempt was listed as criminal mischief," Hicks said.

The next criminal activity occurred on Monday, Dec. 19, when thieves successfully broke into Keese's Barbecue in Medina and the Lost Maples General Store in Vanderpool. "The electricity was cut at both locations and the suspects stole cigarettes after entering the buildings," Hicks said. "They also took some pocket knives on display at the general store."

It could not be confirmed by press time if a similar break-in had occurred at Ace Hardware in Medina.

As a result of the rash of break-ins, Hicks said that deputy patrols had been increased in the Medina area. "We also have some suspects we're looking at, but we have to make our cases," he said.

Meanwhile, local business owners are urged to take extra precautions and Medina night owls are asked to report any suspicious activities observed in the early morning hours by calling 9-1-1.