Liquor store owner taking action after fourth attempted burglary in 18 months

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis police made an arrest in a rash of burglaries around the city, but one business owner said it won't even put a small dent in the crime problem.

People in a neighborhood at St. Nick and Poplar paid more than $20,000 to put up Sky Cop cameras and license plate readers, but that has not stopped burglars from hitting a nearby liquor store four times in the last 18 months, and the owner of the store said it's going to happen again.

"This is the busiest street in Memphis," said Eddie Conner, owner of The Spirits Shoppe. "This should be the safest location in Memphis. They shouldn't be able to park in font of the store and hit with a sledge hammer at 5 a.m. in the morning."

But Conner said that's exactly what has happened at The Spirits Shoppe four times.

Burglars parked along Poplar last Friday and hit the store's door 15 times with a sledgehammer. Two weeks earlier, they tried to smash in the front and side doors. Both times, bulletproof glass stopped them from getting inside the building.

Police said these burglars were involved in at least two similar break-ins at other businesses in August.

On Monday, police arrested a 22-year-old after they spotted the same black car with two passengers wearing the same clothing seen in the video. But that offers little comfort to Conner.

"They caught a foot soldier who is going shut and do whatever time judges and lawyers can`t get him out of, and someone will replace him next week if not tomorrow," Conner said.

Conner said the city needs to hire more police and stop letting criminals run wild.

"Gang members are here for a reason," he said. "We are soft on crime."

He said until then, he'll continue to reinforce his business to keep them out.

"Keeping them out is more expensive than letting them, but I'll be damned if I'm going to let them get away with it and do whatever," Conner said.

Conner said at least 30 liquor stores in the city have been hit over the last two years.

Police released video this week of a sledgehammer break-in at a Dollar General on Winchester, but detectives haven't said how many burglaries in the city might be connected to the group.

If you know anything about these incidents, call CrimeStoppers at 901-528-CASH.

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