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JSO confirms trend of 'smash and grab' burglaries

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Updated: 2/11 7:57 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is urging businesses to take steps to protect themselves after confirming a crime trend that's targeting mostly convenience stores in the west side.

Abdo Yazigi owns Apple Gate Food Store on Westconnett Boulevard; he's already put up concrete poles in front of his store. The changes come 15 days after thieves in a pickup truck smashed through his front doors.

"You find a lot of stuff, the beer and wine, a lot of the display there was damaged or leaking. The glass on the floor," said Yazigi.

Video surveillance caught a burglar backing a truck into the store and grabbing anything in sight at a San Juan Avenue Family Dollar.

The JSO said it's the same method it is seeing over and over. JSO public information officer Shannon Hartley said in just two weeks burglars have targeted five west side businesses.  

"Generally they tend to be more isolated. This is an indicator that maybe there is something a little more going on," said Hartley.

Yazigi said the poles in front of his store will help give him peace of mind.

"More safety to the front area," said Yazigi.

Yazigi said he spent about $7,000 to $8,000 in repairs and clean up. He also added retractable metal blinds to his front doors.

The JSO is encouraging other business to take the same precautions.

Investigators believe the pickup trucks used in the burglaries are stolen, older-model vehicles. The JSO is looking for up to three suspects.

If you have any information, call CrimeStoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.

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