Store burglaries break out across East Austin


by KRIS BETTS / KVUE News and photojournalist MATT OLSEN

Bio | Email | Follow: @KrisB_KVUE

Posted on December 18, 2013 at 11:15 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 18 at 11:20 PM

AUSTIN -- Just days after a smash-and-grab at a popular South Congress shop, several more businesses have reported similar burglaries in East Austin.

A large chunk of concrete sits on the floor of Art and Artisans on East Sixth Street. Over the weekend, the glass door was shattered with the concrete, and employees said it appears at least two men were involved.

“The lady above us heard the glass breaking, came outside to her balcony and watched the guys get in and speed off,” said a studio employee, who asked not to be identified.

The thief or thieves made off with a laptop. Just two doors down, someone broke into Hot Mama’s Café this past weekend as well. In their case, nothing valuable was stolen.

“They’re not getting away with much. They're causing more damage than it seems to be worth their effort,” said café employee Brandon Wilson.

These are two of several Austin businesses that have reported break-ins over the past week.

On Saturday night, surveillance video from a vintage shop on South Congress shows a masked person breaking the glass door with a rock, going through the cash register, stealing change and running off, all in less than 30 seconds.

“To hit these small businesses, and to be honest, they're not getting away with very much. There's not very much for them to get away with,” said Katie Friedman.

Friedman is the owner of Solid Gold, a boutique in East Austin. Her store was also targeted by someone throwing concrete through a glass door, and her store’s computer was stolen.

“We were broken into, and then, that day, we heard of a couple more, and throughout the week, we've heard about more and more each day," Friedman said.

While police are still investigating whether or not these crimes are related, businesses are warning each other through social media and stepping up security.

Several neighbors near East Sixth Street also told KVUE more houses and cars have been broken into the past several weeks.