Three Payson Businesses Robbed After Forced Entry

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Thieves broke into three Payson businesses over the past week, taking an undisclosed amount of money and store merchandise, police said.

Payson Police Commander Don Engler declined to give specific details of the burglaries, the stolen property and the leads, but he said two of the incidents are related, and all resulted from forced entry.

"They are nighttime burglaries," Engler said. "They also committed theft in the interior. The fortunate thing is we're not seeing a lot of damage."

The latest theft took place at Furry Friends Kennel, 810 S. McLane Road. Employees discovered the heist Wednesday Jan. 25. Engler said the call came in at 8:07 a.m.

"That was a situation of forced entry through a doorway," Engler said. "They did end up committing a theft in there."

Police responded to a break-in Jan. 18 at H&R Block, 1008 N. Beeline Highway, and to another scene two days earlier a few doors down at the Cracker Crate General Store, 900 N. Beeline Highway.

H&R Block owner Leonard Tacker said the thieves entered through a back entrance.

"They just kicked in the door," Tacker said. "It had a dead bolt. They just tore the frame off."

After breaking a window, Engler said the suspects shimmied into the Cracker Crate General Store. The store's proprietor, Debbie Mahoney, expressed disappointment and said she hopes the perpetrators are caught.

"The break-in was quite a shock," Mahoney said. "But we feel lucky that no one was hurt, and there was minimal damage."

Engler said investigators believe the Cracker Crate General Store and the H&R Block are related. The Furry Friends robbery, he added, is probably a separate incident.

"The MO is a little different," Engler said. "The types of entry are a little different."

Engler said evidence points to a sole suspect; however, investigators aren't ruling out the possibility of an accomplice.

Payson police officers are increasing their patrols around the crime scenes.

"We also request any input from the community, Engler said. "So if they see anything suspicious -- any people or vehicles -- call us."

Engler encouraged businesses to batten down their property.

"This is a good time to take a look at locking mechanisms," Engler said. "If they have any items of value, remove them from businesses at night. Get dead bolt locks; look into a security system, surveillance cameras. I know at times they're expensive, but they help us out a lot."

To report information related to these crimes, contact Detective Matt Van Camp at (928) 474-5177.

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