Wednesday, January 4, 2006
DALLAS -- Someone has been using the Fox Theater in downtown Dallas as a private tool emporium and playground.
During the past five months, the theater has been broken into and vandalized four times.
All this with the county sheriff's office and Dallas police station only a stone's throw away.
Ron Birch, owner of Fox Theater, Courtyard Coffee and the Dallas Drive-in, is fed up.
He said it is frustrating that the police haven't found any leads and that the perpetrators continue to run free to return at will.
"It happened again on Monday night, and whoever it is is breaking in. We know it was probably the same person, because whoever broke in last time stole a red tool box, and it was back ..., " Terry Peters, Birch's business manager, said.
"I don't know what they are looking for .... Tthere has got to be other things to do. I really feel bad for the owner."
The original break-in was in August. Thieves broke through the box office window to enter the theater through the front.
Mostly, things were scattered and film was tampered. And a few tools were stolen.
The week before Thanksgiving, the box office was broken into again. At the beginning of December, Birch suspects the same people broke in, entering the upper floors of the theater where extra supplies are stored.
They then made their way down into the main theater, passing right by occupied apartments.
"They're taking anything they can find. It's really a pretty big deal because it's costing us money in repairs and stolen property," Birch said. "The fact that it's happening right across from the county and city police stations is a bit ridiculous."
After the third break-in Birch and his employees tried securing the passageway into the theater, but vandals ripped the door open with crowbars and again ransacked the business and took what they could.
Last week, Birch reached his breaking point and issued a reward announcement.
He said he'll give $250 to anyone with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the people responsible for these break-ins.
He said he hopes someone in the community will be willing to help police. In the meantime, he is adding new security to his building -- something he never thought he would need in Dallas.
"The theater's been there in its present form for almost 70 years, and then all of a sudden it's happened four times in almost four weeks. I'm shocked," Birch said.
If you have any information for police, call 503-831-3515.