Restaurant Burglaries Stack Up in Midland

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - Lily Heuirie's family has run Lily's Tortilleria on East Florida in Midland for 14 years. They say, in all that time, they've never had a security problem until this month. A string of eight overnight burglaries has left many restaurant owners with empty pockets.

"They came in through the back of the building," Lily Heuirie said. "They broke the window and pushed it down. At first we weren't worried about it because it was only a cutting board and knives they took from here."

But that wasn't enough. Two days later, they hit the store a second time making off with the cash register, a computer, and even a few tortillas.

"They were real careful," Heuirie said. "They know what they're doing."

"Usually when a place is hit twice or multiple times that tells us the suspect or thief feels real secure going in - they know the movement of the workers there," Sgt. David Garcia with the Midland Police Department, said.

The crooks are getting in by either yanking open the drive-through windows or they're unlatching the air conditioner and climbing in through a hole in the wall.

"It's not that hard," Sgt. Garcia said. "All you need is something to get leverage with like a prybar to yank it off the wall. That leaves a big enough hole for a full size person to walk in and do their deal."

Even on Tuesday, Midland Police and a detective responded to two more restaurant burglary reports. Now they're increasing their patrols on the south and east sides of town.

"Whenever you see a pattern like this or a series like this, we get concerned because usually that means they're going to continue until this person gets caught," Sgt. Garcia said.

"We are worried," Heuirie said. "Sometimes we come in here at five to start making tortillas. What if they're waiting for us thinking that we have money? It's just not fair - twice in the same week."

Midland Police are still trying to sort through all the reports, but they need your help. If you have any information about these restaurant burglaries they ask you contact Crimestoppers by calling 694-TIPS. Your call will remain anonymous.