Area businesses targeted in "snatch-and-run" thefts - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Area businesses targeted in "snatch-and-run" thefts

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

While out and about many of us take precautions to stay safe during the holidays but what about the businesses we choose to shop in? 

Unfortunately, around the holidays, they too can become a target for theft, especially small businesses.

Within a week two, local small businesses were the target of "snatch-and-run" thefts.

"He ran out the front door; the door slammed. I got up and ran after him. My neighbor [at Beds Direct] heard the door slam, he ran after him.  We [ran] into the parking lot and all we saw was his white eyes," said Gary Cadoura, co-owner of the Jewelers Touch.

It happened around noon on Whittlesey Boulevard in the Columbus Park Crossings shopping center. 

Cadoura was chasing 35-year-old Reginald Mathis.  According to Columbus police Mathis walked into the 14-year-old jewelry store pretending to be a customer.

He told an employee he had a $1,000 budget and he was looking for a gold ring.  When the employee pulled out several rings for him to view he snatched a hand full and headed for the door with them.

"Thank God for the Columbus police department, they responded very quickly," Cadoura said. 

Mathis made it to Patriot Court about 10 minutes away. He was bleeding from cuts sustained while jumping over fences trying to elude police. Authorities also found five gold diamond rings on him.

Sergeant Donald Bush with the Columbus police department educates businesses on how to protect themselves from crime.  He said the first step is to look at your floor plan.

"See if it's easy for somebody to snatch and grab; or will the person have to really think?" Sgt. Bush said.

Bush said if thieves have to think about how to get out it may deter them from choosing your store.  He also says it's a good idea to be a good witness and make sure all cameras are working properly.

"It may be some little item that they didn't pay attention to at the time they may be able to give investigators something that we may not be able to pick out in the video," he said. 

Bush said there's one particular time employees need to be most at alert.

"We advise that you at least have one or two employees if you do need to make a drop, make a drop with one or two people instead of by themselves," said Bush. "If you see there's suspicious activity, leave the area immediately or call 911. A lot of people just got out there and then boom it happens."

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