UPDATE 9/27/12 @ 6:45 p.m.
JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Some home and business owners in Ripley who thought their valuables were gone for good will soon get those items back.
Four people were arrested late Wednesday night in connection with more than a dozen burglaries and break-ins.
A long list of stolen items was recovered by law enforcement in Jackson County.
Everything from jewelry and power tools to hunting gear and ATV's were taken during a series of crimes.
“It just seemed like every time you turned around we were getting a call from a different location in town; either a house being burglarized or a business being broken into,” Ripley Police Chief R.L. Fridley said.
“All the businesses around us were hit. We were like, ‘okay, we've got to be next,” Rhonda McCutcheon with Evergreen Florist and Christian Supply, said. “You hear the slightest sound and you might think someone's trying to break in.”
Brian Carr, Dalton Good, Zach Fields and Tabitha Tucker are now behind bars. The arrests are putting people like McCutcheon at ease.
“You let your guard down again a little bit,” McCutcheon said.
However, police say they’re still searching for a man caught on tape stealing from Pete’s Hotdogs. They have some suspects, but say even when he's caught, you should still take caution.
“The nature of the business is that somebody else will continue to try to make money by stealing from someone else,” Jackson County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Tony Boggs said.
Police say they have solved sixteen of the burglaries and break-ins. They say at this point they just have a few more to go.
So far they have recovered $10,000 to $20,000 worth of stolen items.
It's been happening for weeks along Route 21 near downtown, according to many business owners who have been hit time and time again.
Many are not wondering if but when they will be hit up again. Owners say the thief or thieves are becoming more brave, brazen and creative.
"It's tough trying to survive in this economy and then you have someone stealing off you," business owner Ronald Martin said. "I'm afraid it could get costly."
Police say it's all about money and drugs, and they do have a few potential suspects.
"It's a quick buck to get a quick fix and go on about life," Sgt. Rick Cain said. "We're still on an investigation, and all the leads we can get are appreciated."
At R.M. Collision Center, a thief actually cut a giant hole in the fence and the tried to steal an ATV.
Ronald Martin, the shop's owner, tells WSAZ.com the motor's bad so the thieves couldn't get it started.
"I'm going to put up more lights out back," Martin said. "Luckily we don't have a lot of windows in the garage. I'm afraid they're going to break in the garage and steal a bunch of tools and stuff."
However, next door, at Nathan's Market, the owner was stolen from again. This time, a cash box, chain saw and other items were ripped off.
"Everything I'm working for they're taking," owner Nathan Knopp said. "Something is going to have to be done."
Knopp says extension cords were run from his business to the nearby body shop in an attempt to steal Martin's ATV.
"I think they're getting a little bit braver to do what they did Sunday night," Knopp said. "Because it had to take them at least a half hour to get all that stuff done."
Neighbors suspect it may be the same suspect who has broken into Pete's Hotdog stand three times in four nights.
Ripley Police are still working leads and trying to get more information to help crack the cases.
Police say in the last several nights they've dealt with other break-ins, including two at the West Baptist Church on the other side of town.
Officers suspect there may be several people responsible.
Business owners say they're keeping a close eye on their places late at night and in the early morning hours.
If you have anything that can help lead to an arrest, you are asked to call the Ripley Police Department.
Police say one man keeps breaking in and looking for some fast cash. Officers suspect two people could be involved in the crimes.
Business owners say the masked bandit is pretty bold -- not just because of the high number of places he's busted in to recently -- but the fact that he's gone back to the same businesses several times.
The proof is in the surveillance video at Pete's Hotdogs along Route 21 in Ripley. A brazen bandit can be seen on the hunt.
"He came in this door right here, he walks around," owner Matt Petersen said. "He walks around near the registers here, but they were left open so you could see there was no money in it."
Police say the motive is pretty simple -- some fast cash and suspect the money is for drugs.
The burglar got away with a wad of cash the first night he broke into Pete's but was also caught on camera. The suspect tried to burglarize the same store three times in just four nights.
"And the funny thing is he always locks the door on the way out," Petersen said.
Even after he locks up and leaves, the bandit doesn't go far. Police say for the past couple of weeks in the early morning hours, the suspect has hit up the hotdog business, the Dairy Queen down the street and Nathan's Flower Shop.
"They came over this rail and then they came here to this door, and the door was locked," owner Nathan Knopp said. "I'd say they got something in here and tried to get in this door."
Once inside, the bandit stole the entire cash register -- money and all.
"The way I am if you ask me for something, I'll give it to you," Knopp said. "But don't take it from me. I don't like thieves."
Now many business owners are left on edge and wondering who's next. Three homes and even the high school concession stand have fallen victim.
The entire community is left waiting and hoping the bandit's next stop is behind bars.
"It's a small hometown, and I always thought people are pretty honest with you and stuff," Knopp said. "Now I look at it differently now."
Police say in recent weeks more than six homes and businesses have been broken into in Ripley. In total, they estimate this burglar bandit has made off with about $8,000.
If you have any information that can help lead to an arrest, call the Ripley Police Department at 304-372-4711.
+ Ashland, KY
+ Athens, OH
+ Beckley, WV
+ Charleston, WV
+ Clarksburg, WV
+ Clay, WV
+ Gallipolis, OH
+ Huntington, WV
+ Ironton, OH
+ Logan, WV
+ Morgantown, WV
+ Paintsville, KY
+ Parkersburg, WV
+ Pikeville, KY
+ Pomeroy, OH
+ Ripley, WV
+ Spencer, WV
+ Sutton, WV
+ Wayne, WV
+ Wheeling, WV
+ Williamson, WV