May be a break in recent Kennewick burglary outbreak

KENNEWICK, Wash. -- There may be a break in the recent burglaries hitting businesses in east Kennewick. KEPR has learned two people are in jail tonight who may be responsible for the crimes. Kennewick Police say the suspects are being held on other charges. KEPR spoke with the most recent victims - who still can't figure out what the crooks are after.

Charles Mitchell has owned Charlie's Automotive on Columbia Drive for 34 years. He has never been burglarized - until Monday.

"They just rifled through it and went through the glove box and threw stuff all over the place," he said.

The first thing he noticed was an Audi convertible that had its soft-top slashed. The car's owner is a longtime customer.

"Thank goodness he's a really good person and he understands that the car was locked up and to the best of my ability I've tried to protect it as well as I could."

But Charles still feels responsible. He filed a claim against his insurance. He expects the deductible will cost him his Christmas shopping money.

"Not only does it cut into your profits, but it makes you feel violated."

In the weeks I've covered this burglary outbreak, many other victims have told me they feel violated by the crooks, too. They've targeted auto body shops, contractors, and storage units. A lot of them are taking place on Columbia Drive. It's hard to tell what the thieves are after. In some cases they've left behind more expensive things in favor of items of less value. In one case, only a bucket of Halloween candy was missing.

"I don't understand the purpose of what's really going on...if they're actually thieves or kids or looking for something to do."

"You used to be able to leave everything out, now you can't leave nothin out," said another victim.

Which is why police are encouraging everyone to take extra safety measures when locking up. But when fences and walls were cut through -- it still might not stop these crooks.

"It's either they're extremely brave or they don't think they're gonna get caught or just not very smart."

Kennewick Police are working to solve this outbreak of commercial burglaries as well as a separate outbreak of residential burglaries. Two separate groups of thefts -- and separate suspects are likely.