Seventeen seconds, says David Blatt, owner of Computer Corner on Truman Road in Independence, is all it took for his store to experience what is commonly referred to as a smash and grab.
In just that short amount of time on Jan. 12, Blatt says $1,200 worth of computers were taken from Computer Corner.
But what makes this particular smash and grab unique is the number of security cameras surveilling the premises.
“I have four cameras inside the store, four outside and 20 covering the two blocks that stretch from the store,” he said. “So there are 24 cameras total, not including the ones inside.”
Blatt says security camera footage shows a “2004 or 2005” dark blue Town & Country Chrysler van parking directly in front of his store around 4:35 a.m. A person gets out and starts smashing the store’s front window with a rock. Inside camera footage reveals a person entering the store and collecting merchandise, putting it in a trash bin. The suspect escapes just before the store’s ADT security alarm goes off.
Despite the numerous warnings posted on the store’s exterior alerting thieves that the building is monitored by closed circuit TV and armed with ADT security, Blatt believes the suspect was lured by his high-end merchandise.
“He must have walked into the store before,” he said. “I think he knew he could grab a number of items that are worth a lot in the shortest amount of time.”
The store’s ADT security system notified police, and Independence officers arrived at the scene minutes later, according to Blatt. He also arrived at his store just after police showed up.
“I missed him (the suspect) by five or six minutes,” Blatt said.
Blatt also says what transpired at Computer Corner wasn’t just an isolated incident in his neighborhood.
“Things happen here every week for the past two months. Windows were knocked out near Truman and Hardy just for kicks, there was a stolen truck about a month ago....”
The store owner acknowledges there is a strong police presence in his area, however, he says they seem to be watching more for speeders.
“They don’t follow up with the little guy who gets broken into,” Blatt says. “We small business owners invest all our time and money to keep it running, but an incident like this costs.”
Independence Police Public Information Officer Tom Gentry says the incident that occurred at Computer Corner is still an ongoing investigation.
Meanwhile, David Blatt plans to install burglar bars on his store’s windows.