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UPDATE: Thousands of Dollars in Instruments Stolen Latest in String of Daytime Burglaries

UPDATE: 10/18/12 @ 10 p.m.
GALLIA COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) – Neighbors say it seems there's no stopping a string of thefts in Gallia County, where homes have been burglarized for weeks.

The latest victims are a group of young musicians.

Friends who’re students at Gallia Academy and Rio Grande University with a common interest in music recently formed a band, but their young career has hit a significant bump.

Christopher Oiler and his band mates use his mom's vacant rental home on Sailor Road in Vinton as rehearsal space.

Tuesday someone broke in and stole 6 thousand dollars worth of their instruments and equipment.

"To somebody stealing it, they're just dollar signs,” Oiler said, “but to us, our musical instruments are something of much more significance."

"The most bothering thing to me is they worked so hard at a young age to get what they have, and someone can come in and just take it," his mother Linda Oiler said.

Gallia Sheriff Joe Browning says they're investigating to see if this is connected to a string of other recent burglaries in the area.

Linda says the burglary had to have happened some time between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tuesday.

"You live in fear that you're going to come home from work and everything you have is going to be gone," Linda said.

The Oilers’ rental home was the scene of another burglary this summer. The house was being rented at the time. Following the theft, the family living there moved out.

Now the Oilers, having lost months of rent money, are feeling the effects of these crimes in more ways than one.

The band (named Astralis) had to cancel their debut live performance but are now planning to play their first show as a group November 3 at the New Haven Community Center with borrowed instruments.



UPDATE 10/17/12 @ 5:45 p.m.
GALLIPOLIS, Oh (WSAZ) -- Gallia County residents were hit with two more burglaries on Tuesday night. Sheriff Joe Browning said his deputies are working leads.

"We've got three areas of the county that seem to be targeted," Browning said. "We've even crossed the river into West Virginia to interview people of interest."

Sheriff Browning suspects drugs are fueling this rash of crime.

J.B. Roberts' home was burglarized Tuesday along East Bethel Road -- his medicine cabinet raided.

"They didn't take anything in there," Roberts says. "They just broke in and took computers, tablets, TVs, other electronics and jewelry. It's that someone was in your home that makes you feel violated."

Browning says the law of averages doesn't work in the crooks' favor.

"Sometime, someone's going to go in and assume no one's home. That increases the risk of injury to homeowner or suspect," Browning said. "Either way, someone could be hurt or killed."

The sheriff is urging people to be a good neighbor and contact 911 if they see anything suspicious in their neighborhood.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY
RIO GRANDE, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Neighbors say home after home has been targeted by thieves in a series of break-ins in the Rio Grande area.

One of the victims' motion cameras caught pictures that may prove to be helpful in putting the burglars behind bars.

"We have a lot of deer come through here,” Patty Jones said. “We never dreamed we'd be robbed."

Patty and her husband Bryan had a camera set up in a tree near their home.

When they saw they’d been robbed, they looked at the images on their camera and got a clear picture of what happened.

Two men pulled up in a car and stole a four-wheeler, guns, weed eaters and other tools.

"It feels pretty violating to watch somebody crawl into your garage and steal everything you've got,” Bryan said.

"You know someone's been in your home, you don't feel safe," Patty said.

The theft happened at the end of August.

Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning says these suspects may be connected with several break-ins near the Jackson-Gallia County line.

Greg Kiefer used to work on catching criminals as the sheriff in Jackson County. This time, he's among the victims.

"I hear something just about daily of another burglary in the local area," Kiefer said.

The night before the Jones’s theft, someone broke into Kiefer's home on Route 279 and stole guns, jewelry and cash.

Having worked in law enforcement, he's aware of how difficult these cases are to prosecute, but with this kind of evidence, he says this crime spree should not be allowed to continue.

"We could resolve this issue almost immediately,” Kiefer said. “I'm a little concerned that it's dragged a little too long."

Sheriff Browning says it appears the suspects are selling the stolen property out of state. He says they are close to making arrests.


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