Fort Deposit shop owner complains of excessive break-ins, little - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Fort Deposit shop owner complains of excessive break-ins, little police response

(Source: WSFA 12) (Source: WSFA 12)
FORT DEPOSIT, AL (WSFA) -

Mishbah Uddin says he enjoys owning his gas station convenience story, the BD Shop, in Fort Deposit. He says he enjoys the community and has a good relationship with his customers.

However, he said he is becoming increasingly afraid to do business in the town because the number of break-ins he’s suffered since 2014.

“They’re breaking in all the time,” Uddin said. “They break in once a month, sometimes twice in a week.”

Uddin says he has lost count of exactly how many times people have broken into his story, but he guesses it’s more than 15 times. The people who have burglarized his store have taken packs of cigarettes, his cash register, and an ATM machine multiple times.

The latest incident occurred just days before Christmas; this time, the thieves took the store's ATM machine.

“I called the company that owns the machine, and they told me there was about $12,000 in there,” Uddin said.

Uddin said he realized what had happened in the early hours of Friday morning but when he called the Fort Deposit Police Department, there was no one there to answer his call.

“I was transferred to the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office,” Uddin said. “The deputies came, but they got here 30 minutes later.”

Uddin said this has happened more than once. The deputies get dispatched from Hayneville, so it takes them longer to get to Uddin’s store. Meanwhile, the police department is a 45-second drive from his shop.

Multiple business owners in the town said they have had trouble contacting the police department to get help in a timely fashion. However, Fort Deposit Police Chief Terry Steiner said that isn’t the case.

“They shouldn’t have trouble getting in touch with us,” Steiner said. “They can call 9-1-1, or better yet, they can call the Fort Deposit Police Department or my personal cell number.”

When we called the department’s number, the line was transferred to the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office.

Uddin said he has been trying to call Steiner’s cell number but has been getting the voicemail, which is too full to receive messages.

Chief Steiner admitted the department is recovering from the resignation of the former chief and is currently understaffed.

“We are doing our best, and we work with the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office,” Steiner said. “They work really well with us.”

As far as the lack of arrests for any of the numerous break-ins at Uddin’s store and other stores, he said officers are working on it but it’s “difficult” because it’s “inside stuff”.

He also said the police department and sheriff’s office are working together to investigate the latest break-in at Uddin’s store.

For Uddin, he just wants the break-ins to stop and he is hopeful that the police will step up and help more. He said he has spent thousands to repair his store’s windows, walls, and doors that have been destroyed by burglars and is having issues with finding someone to insure his store with the number of break-ins that have occurred. 

Copyright 2016 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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