Two tax offices burglarized, employees blame economy

By Laurie Bernstein - bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -Coming into work Monday morning, Stephanie Shorter knew someone had broken into the Frederick Road Tax Office in Opelika.

Their front door had been kicked in, with papers and files scattered everywhere.

"I have been here seven years and this is the first time it's happened. They know that we have checks to be given out, and probably figured it would be a quick way to get some extra cash," said Shorter, the tax office manager.

Shorter's business wasn't the only one to get hit.

Tax One on Buena Vista Road in Columbus also had thieves break in over the past few days.

They actually cut through the cinder blocks in the wall to gain entry.

"They're probably thinking, 'They're so busy, I wonder if they have money in there,' but we're a tax office, not a bank, and we don't have money here," said Shonelle Flowers, a Tax One Associate.

Police were able to nab one of the burglars suspected of breaking into the Opelika tax center.

Keldyn Brown was caught using one of the 89 stolen checks at a nearby convenience store.

These businesses, though, are still taking extra security precautions for the future, knowing that criminals are desperate for anyway to make some quick cash.

"The economy is in a recession, and people are just reacting in any way to try and find money for their families," said Flowers.

Both places plan on installing security cameras and reinforcing their doors and other points of entry.

They also stress that all client information is safe and secure inside each building.

This is the first time either business has ever been broken into, and both managers say it's all because of the economy.