Breaking Burglaries

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For the owners of four stores broken into this weekend on Back Beach Road in Panama City Beach, knowing there is a special unit that investigates burglaries is appreciated.

Peggy Beck and her husband own Fernleigh Antiques, which was burglarized Friday night.

"I certainly think it's a step in the right direction and yes, it does give me more confidence to open my doors and feel secure as a business owner."

The Sheriff's Office unit focuses only on burglaries, grand theft and auto thefts, a focus that Sgt. Steve Harbuck says allows the investigators more tools to solve each case.

"A lot of cases you had a description of who you were looking for in the sexual assault, and in the home burglary you had absolutely nothing, absolutely nothing to go on, so those were pushed to the side while you went after what you could actually put your hands on."

In just the two and a half months since the unit was created, they have cleared more than half of its cases and made 124 arrests.

Beach Bed and Bath was broken in around 8:30 Friday night. Owner George Dent says the burglars are not afraid of the area and a burglary unit could help prevent this attitude.

"I think it's a great idea, especially given the recent rash of burglaries that we've had along back beach road specifically," he says. "Your success rate is going to be higher when you can focus on a particular issue."

Which will only be that much better for these business owners and others whose personal property has also been violated.