Thieves Targeting Blacked Out Streets - WSET.com - ABC13

Thieves Targeting Blacked Out Streets

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Reporter: Rachel Schaerr | Videographer: R.J. Burnette

Lynchburg, VA - Thieves are taking advantage of people who are in the dark.

Wednesday night in Lynchburg, they burglarized at least two homes off of Rivermont Avenue and broke into a gas station on Boonsboro Road. None of them had power.

Heather Ryan-Sigler was sleeping upstairs in her Norfolk Avenue home, with two children and her next-door neighbor. She woke-up around 5:00 a.m. after hearing something in her basement.

"I came walking through here and when I did there was this huge man standing in my doorway," Ryan-Sigler said, pointing to the basement door.

She chased the man away, with no idea that a few houses down and a few hours earlier -- another neighbor tackled a man trying to steal his power tools.

"He just explained that he had children and it was tough times and he wanted to make some fast cash," said Ryan Fitzgerald.

The suspect was gone by the time police arrived. He's described as 6'1", 250 pounds, carrying a knapsack and wearing black work boots with white socks.

"The two on Rivermont Avenue had very similar descriptions. The homeowners saw the individual both times," said Lt. Danny Marks with the Lynchburg Police Department.

This marks 20 burglaries in the city since Friday's storm. Police say the main reason for the high number -- people are more vulnerable. Alarm systems don't work and surveillance cameras don't either.

"I'm sure that there are many people who have left town that are gonna come back and find that their houses have been broken into," explained Ryan-Sigler.

She and her neighbors feel violated and even more frustrated. This makes it six days without power and counting.

"We thought maybe we should put some signs up asking for help," she said.

The Apple Market gas station on Boonsboro Road was also without power when thieves struck Wednesday night.  Police say someone threw a brick through the glass window and stole an undisclosed amount of cash from the register.

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