Safes aren’t so safe these days.
Bandits have been breaking into safes or stealing them outright from businesses all over North Texas. The problem is so pervasive that Dallas police recently created a safe burglary task force and have been working with other area agencies to battle the onslaught.
“I don’t think you could name a city that borders Dallas that hasn’t been hit,” said Deputy Chief David Pughes, who oversees the task force.
“It’s not necessarily a well-structured criminal enterprise,” he said. “It’s groups of individuals who have decided that this is their crime of choice. It’s very lucrative and obviously what’s driving it right now is that they’ve had a lot of success.”
A Dallas Morning News review found that Dallas police recorded more than 165 business safe burglaries through the first half of 2013. That review found that thieves have swiped more than $500,000 in cash and caused at least $390,000 in damage. ...
The safes range from easily removed cash boxes to bigger bolted-down ones. The thefts typically involve thieves crudely bludgeoning their way inside the safe or simply carting the safes away to be opened later. Authorities said this isn’t high-tech Mission Impossible work.Some of the episodes have been caught on video but with perpetrators wearing masks and gloves, that didn't help much. The activity died down after the feds nabbed a crew last summer, but this year, "In May, the numbers exploded with Dallas-area agencies recording an average of about 30 safe burglaries a week." Then they dropped off again in late June after several recent arrests of people associated with the guys the feds caught last year. That's not surprising: Safecracking is not a grassrootsy crime committed on impulse like shoplifting or fighting. It requires intention, specialized knowledge, preparation and execution. Few criminals have that sort of focus or discipline and those who do tend to make their money selling dope.
Thieves have hit car dealerships in Rockwall and Garland, and even an upscale Mexican restaurant in Carrollton, authorities said.
Break-ins often take place overnight. Thieves typically wear gloves and masks and force their way in using crowbars and sledgehammers. Often they are in and out with their loot within minutes.
Grits has recently evinced a passing interest in locks and keys, arguing that locks' symbolic role is as or more important than the physical barrier they pose to thieves, which a determined person can typically overcome. Clearly that goes not just for the lock on the front door but the safe in the office.