A break-in in the early hours of March 23 resulted in a loss of more than $11,000 -- mostly in stolen cigarettes -- at Steve's Country Drive-Thru on West Broad Street in the western portion of Prairie Township.

A break-in in the early hours of March 23 resulted in a loss of more than $11,000 -- mostly in stolen cigarettes -- at Steve's Country Drive-Thru on West Broad Street in the western portion of Prairie Township.

Steve Kennedy, a Prairie Township trustee, is owner and operator of the burglarized business.

The burglary began at 1:14 a.m. Monday, March 23, Kennedy said. That's when the surveillance camera system at the business began picking up the images of two young males, one black and one white.

The burglars' first order of business was to disable the phone system, Kennedy said. They waited to see if there would be any response, he said, then continued the burglary after 2 a.m.

"They used the ladder to reach and cut the telephone service," Kennedy said. "They sat and waited for a response and were back at 2:06 a.m. They used a power saw to cut a flap in the back door."

The two entered by the back door and proceeded to fill trash bags with cartons of cigarettes, Kennedy said. It is estimated they got away with 250 cartons of cigarettes worth $11,000.

Kennedy said the two left the store and came back about 3 a.m., when they tried to get into the office. The office, however, has motion detectors and they ended up setting off an alarm, he said.

Kennedy said the two were gone by the time he got to the store. The Franklin County Sheriff's Office was at the scene within minutes, he said.

"I did observe a car going slow down Alton Road about 3:30 a.m., but they were gone by the time I got there," Kennedy said.

He said burglaries of this kind are on the increase, with the perpetrators demonstrating no fear of the consequences.

"These guys are getting braver and braver," he said.

Anyone with information concerning this particular burglary can call the Franklin County Sheriff's Office at 462-3333.

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