Two city businesses burglarized

By Abby Morris
Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com

   Two neighboring city businesses were burglarized either late Monday night or in the early morning hours on Tuesday and computers and other office equipment were stolen from both locations.
   Sonya Taylor, the manager of Southeastern Lending, 990-A W. Elk Ave., reported to Elizabethton Police Department officers shortly before 9 a.m. on Monday that someone had broken into the office of the business. She said that she discovered the burglary when she arrived to open the office.
   According to a police report by EPD Sgt. Jack Ramsey, the suspect or suspects apparently made entry to the business by removing a Maytag window-unit air conditioner.
   Once inside, the suspect(s) also vandalized the business, moving several pieces of furniture and throwing several pieces of office equipment, including a laser printer, calculators and an un-interruptable power supply unit, to the floor possibly damaging them.
   "In the course of the theft, the face plates from one of the PC's and the air conditioner were left behind," Ramsey said in his report.
   During the course of the investigation into the burglary at Southeastern Lending, Ramsey discovered that the business in the suite door, AAA Discount Autos, had also been broken into.
   "I contacted the business owner, Kenneth Estep, when he responded to the business," Ramsey said, adding that he and Estep discovered that office equipment had been stolen from that office as well. "The door to his business appeared to be dead-bolted, though the frame was rotten. He advised however that the striker plate had been bent since he last locked the business. I couldn't find any evidence of tool marks, however."
   Ramsey then contacted Detectives Ed McGee and Jason McCall of the EPD Criminal Investigations Division, who responded to process the scene. "While assisting them, I discovered that the suspect(s) had cut the plastic sheeting that had been stapled over the window and air conditioner unit," Ramsey said. "From the height of the cut, it was apparent that at least one of the suspects was approximately six feet, two inches in height."
   According to reports, while Ramsey was inspecting the window believed to be the point of entry of the burglary of Southeastern Lending, he saw several spots of what appeared to be fresh blood on the inside and outside of the plastic. Investigators took the plastic in as evidence.
   In addition to the blood found at the scene, investigators lifted latent finger prints from some of the equipment and furniture in the two businesses.
   A total of approximately $2,800 worth of property was stolen from the two businesses including three computers, two telephones, a fax machine and a printer.
   Anyone with information about the burglaries is asked to contact Inv. Jason McCall at (423) 547-6225 or Inv. Ed McGee at 547-6415.