Robberies at Advance Auto, Columbus Hardware

Published 5:51 pm Friday, October 21, 2011

Police: Probably not related to Tryon restaurant robberies
Recent robberies of the Advanced Auto and Columbus Hardware Stores are thought to be professional hits and not related to robberies of three Tryon restaurants that occurred the same week, according to local police.
Advance Auto and Columbus Hardware were broken into sometime in the early morning hours of Monday, Oct. 10. The restaurants of El Sureño, Mr. Juan’s and TJ’s Cafe in Tryon were broken into two days later.
Columbus Police Chief Chris Beddingfield told town council during a meeting Thursday, Oct. 20 that the Columbus robberies are thought to have been professional hits as a number of Advance Auto Parts stores round the region have been robbed in the exact same manner.
Beddingfield said the safe was drilled into in the same manner in Advance Auto robberies in Duncan and Spartanburg, S.C., as well as in Brevard, Mooresville, Gastonia and Charlotte.
“I think it was a professional hit and not something that needs to worry our residents,” Beddingfield said.
Beddingfield said he is trying to work in a regional effort to  solve the case.
Beddingfield also said after reviewing details of the Tryon break-ins, local investigators do not believe the cases are related.
During the early morning hours of Wednesday, Oct. 12, El Sureño, Mr. Juan’s and TJ’s Café were broken into. Some cash was stolen in those break-ins, according to Tryon investigators.
In the Advance Auto break-in, the suspect(s) broke in through a door and used the store’s tools to drill into the safe and take cash.
Beddingfield said the same method of using the store’s tools to drill into the safes was used in the other Advance Auto robberies. He said there were no fingerprints left at the crime scenes.
Beddingfield said Columbus Hardware was broken into on the same night as the Advance Auto robbery. The hardware store’s doors were damaged, but the suspect(s) was unable to get into the safe.
Beddingfield said in another regional Advance Auto Store break-in, a nearby hardware store was also broken into the same night. He said he believes the robberies in Columbus are related, because Columbus Hardware is in such close proximity to Advance Auto.
Both cases are still unsolved. Anyone with any information on either the Tryon restaurant break-ins or the Columbus Advance Auto and Columbus Hardware break-in is urged to call the Tryon Police Department at 828-859-9195, the Columbus Police Department at 828-894-5464 or Foothills Crimestoppers at 1-800-847-7119.

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