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Police looking for up to 10 teenagers who burglarized South Memphis Farmers Market

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Memphis Police said they're investigating a burglary of a South Memphis farmers market meant to help ease the burden of the area being a "food desert."

Arita Ware, who lives next to the South Memphis Farmers Market on Mississippi Boulevard, said she called police when she saw kids burglarize the market around 4 a.m. Monday.

“I just saw some boys running out, and that time of morning the door shouldn’t have been open,” she said.

She said between seven and 10 teenagers were all under the age of 15 and didn’t steal anything more than chips and soda. But police said they used a brick to shatter the front door. Shards of glass were still in the walkway out front when WREG was there Tuesday night.

"I just don’t like it. It's something that helps us then they want to destroy it. It’s awful," Ware said.

"I get all kinds of vegetables and fruits," said neighbor Ron Nalley, who frequents the market.

From the outside, you can see fresh food in the market, including bananas, lettuce and tomatoes. But instead, because of the incident there was a sign on the door that read “closed until Thursday.”

“It’s very convenient for the neighborhood, and I’m sorry to hear about this happening,” Nalley said.

In fact, a nearby organization called “The Works” operates the South Memphis Farmers Market. Organizers said they used grant money to open it in 2014.

Since then, they said criminals have broken in several times.

“This is the fourth time they’ve been broken in and it’s sad,” Ware said.

“I just wish they’d catch these young guys and teach them a lesson. You have to work for what you want," Nalley said.

The Works officials say the market would reopen this Thursday with an outdoor farmers market from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

They said the door cost about $400 to replace and it did set them back but they're determined to keep serving the community.