Memphis retailers offering $25k in rewards after string of liquor store burglaries
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis CrimeStoppers and Shelby County announced a special reward on Thursday of up to $25,000 for information leading to one or more arrests in a string of organized “grab and run” retail liquor store burglaries this year.
This extra reward, which is in addition to regular CrimeStoppers felony rewards, was raised by the Memphis Area Liquor Retailers representing dozens of store owners in the city victimized by the break-ins.
Owners hope citizens with information on the crimes and thieves will call the CrimeStoppers tip line, 528-CASH (2274).
More than 40 stores have been hit since May 19 of this year, with similar motives for each.
One of the latest incidents occurred in the early morning hours of August 5 at Buster’s Liquors & Wines on Highland Street near Poplar Avenue.
The theft began when five cars with tinted windows and bogus drive-out license tags sped up to the store and more than a dozen individuals hopped out and began busting windows. Some of the suspects went into the store and filled laundry baskets, while others broke other windows to grab bottles on display.
The break-in was over in minutes. Besides the physical damage of about $10,000, more than $15,000 in goods were stolen, according to Josh Hammond, the president and owner of Buster’s.
In late June, two stores were hit two hours apart. Masked men using stolen cars and wielding sledgehammers took about $4,000 in high-end alcohol from Natalie’s Liquors in Cordova, then hit Kimbrough’s Fine Wine and Spirits on Union Avenue in Midtown, stealing about $6,000 in goods.
Charlie’s Wine and Spirits on Kirby Whitten Road was also burglarized on July 12. Police say the front window was smashed with a sledgehammer. The suspects then grabbed items and walked out with about $7,500 worth of liquor.
Memphis Police Assistant Chief Joe Oakley said citizens should report anyone selling wine or liquor from a home, car or social media by calling CrimeStoppers or the Memphis Police Department.
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