Sheriff's Office Investigates String of Business Burglaries

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

LINN COUNTY, Iowa – The Sheriff's Office is investigating after a recent string of burglaries.

Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner said a burglar or burglars broke into five businesses and tried to break into one more last week. They're all located in Central City and Troy Mills. Sheriff Gardner said deputies have not made any arrests and they don't have any suspects at this time.

He added that each incident happened in the overnight hours last Monday night into Tuesday. As the investigation continues, businesses are trying to move on.

Not much is happening in Troy Mills on a quiet Sunday evening. The town's traffic signal is blinking to stop the passing cars. Just days ago, however, the scene was much different.

"I noticed the door was unlocked and that someone had been in here and went through my desk drawers," said Gary's Auto Owner Gary Peiffer.

Peiffer was checking on his new fish tank late at night when he realized what had happened. Someone broke the window at his business, Gary's Auto, and took about $100. He called 911 and helped the sheriff's office check neighboring businesses.

"Small towns, we stick together," Peiffer said.

The burglars targeted three other businesses nearby. Now, Gary is investing in better security cameras.

"I got them ordered, they will be in before long," Peiffer said.

Down in Central City, the sheriff's office said two more business owners found a similar scene.

"[I] noticed that there were footprints around the back door that were not mine," said Montana's Family Restaurant Co-owner James O'Leary.

O'Leary said someone pried the back door of his restaurant open and stole about $200. He said it doesn't seem like much, but it's a lot of money for a small business.

"It's selfish, on their part to do it to anybody. They apparently need it more than we do," O'Leary said.

O'Leary said he's learned never to leave cash inside overnight. After the whole ordeal, he's ready for investigators to discover who is responsible.

"I feel sorry for the other businesses that got hit too. It's horrible, and I know how they feel now. Anybody that has ever been robbed or broke into, now I know what they feel like," O'Leary said.

The sheriff's office is looking into whether the cases are connected. Sheriff Gardner said at each of the businesses, mostly cash was taken. If anyone has any information, they're asked to call the Linn County Sheriff's Office at 319-398-3911.
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