More break-ins rattle Railroad Square business owners

Business owners in Railroad Square are concerned and on high alert after several stores have been broken into.
Published: Apr. 14, 2022 at 1:05 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -Multiple break ins in less than a week, leading small business owners to raise concerns and ramp up security in Railroad Square.

Business owners say that fat cat books isn’t the only other store to be hit within the past 4 days; at least 4 others have been hit.

“Every day I’m worried about showing up to the shop and seeing it’s been broken into or anything that has to be replaced,” said Phaze One Skate Shop Owner Orlando Vasquez.

With an increase in burglaries, Phaze One Skate Shop Owner Orlando Vasquez is concerned he may be the next victim.

“We have our own security system and bars on the window so it’s a little harder to access this shop and it’d be more of a pain to get what? Some t-shirts? The registers are left empty at the end of the night,” Vasquez said.

Michelle Hartsfield with Fat Cat Books wants to remind people that when someone steals from a small business, it’s only furthering their chances of making it especially after COVID.

“These are small businesses, their livelihoods, two to a few employees and there is not a lot of money coming in like corporate companies have. So, what they are taking seems like pennies to some people, it’s the rent or it’s the dinner on the table that night,” said Nonprofit volunteer Michelle Hartsfield.

Hartsfield said that the material things can be replaced but noticing a beloved feline was missing sent them into a panic.

“I think the kittens being safe is what stresses us out the most but for her being gone for those couple of hours that we were aware of was very stressful, a couple of us were crying and we were running around like crazy people looking for her,” Hartsfield said.

Vasquez asked the police department to monitor the area.

“Nothing is being done. I mean I figure if you put a police presence in the neighborhood that would deter people from lurking or trying to figure out how they can break into a shop so it’s kind of disappointing,” Vasquez said.

Hartsfield said that the cats are shaken up right now and will be removed from the store until they can get more answers.

WCTV has reached out to Tallahassee Police Department but they have not returned our calls.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Business owners around Railroad Square say they’ve seen a series of break-ins over just the past few days, and are now adding more security cameras while working with police as officers evaluate evidence and catch the suspect.

WCTV has learned of break-ins targeting at least five Railroad Square businesses in recent days, including in the early morning hours Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Fat Cat Books, Juke City apparel, Crum Box restaurant, Wonsaponatime Vintage, and the Tallulah CBD store were all hit.

In a statement on behalf of the businesses, the property manager called the burglaries “unusual” and pointed out that the break-ins happened in the early morning hours, and all but one included taking items of limited value such as hoodies and beanie hats.

“We continue to encourage our community to support the many small businesses and hard-working, creative entrepreneurs within the Art District,” wrote William Powell, a property manager with TLG.

Management says the businesses are in close communication with the Tallahassee Police Department, saying TPD “has been extremely responsive in addressing the situation.”

As WCTV first reported on Wednesday, a man was seen on surveillance camera breaking into Tallulah Delta 8 Plus early that morning, and the owner says the suspect made off with hundreds of dollars of product from the store.

WCTV has reached out to the Tallahassee Police Department for an update on the rash of burglaries at Railroad Square. We are waiting to hear back.

Business owners around Railroad Square say they're worried about a recent uptick in break-in attempts and plan to work together to stop them.

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