CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - There's a new trend for business burglaries in Charlotte.
CMPD has mapped an area that runs up and down South Boulevard. At the heart of this hot spot is where Woodlawn crosses South-- at that intersection, a T Mobile cell phone store was recently broken into for the second time in 16 months.
"They took a cinder block and threw it thru the front door."
CMPD Detective Marty Cuthbertson saw it all unfold on surveillance video from inside the store. Three crooks used a cinder block to break the front door glass, then they quickly ran to the back counters.
Another camera view shows all three men with material covering their heads and faces. They knew about the surveillance cameras and weren't about to leave any clues.
They also wore gloves to pilfer the cash registers.
Fortunately, there was no cash and only a couple of used phones laying about.
But this break-in is notable because it's the same story and the same method that many businesses in the area are dealing with-- the forcible b&e.
Plus, there's one other aspect of this crime that shouldn't come as a surprise-- the lure of new technology on display.
"In every case we were out here, there was a new phone that had just come out," said Detective Cuthbertson.
Cell phone stores like to advertise their wares through big, glass windows. It attracts customers. But it also attracts bad guys.
"People can actually walk by here at night and see them on display and see where they need to go to get those items. I think we can curtail a lot of theft of this property if you lock these items up at night, instead of leaving them out on display."
The surveillance also shows the three men racing out of the store after spending no more than 30 seconds inside. It's a strategy that gets them long gone before police have time to arrive.
The good news is, most of those new phones were locked up, so the thieves didn't get away with much. If you can help catch them, call Crimestoppers at (704) 334-1600 and you could earn a reward.