Rooftop burglars strike in Rivergate area - WSMV News 4

Rooftop burglars strike in Rivergate area

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

When contractors got to Payless on Gallatin Pike to work on the air conditioning unit on Friday morning, they didn't expect to find the 500-pound system in pieces on the roof.

Metro police responded to the Madison shoe store around 3:30 a.m. after an alarm went off.

Thieves broke in, leaving a mess in their wake and area workers scratching their heads.

"I would never think that somebody is so desperate that they go through a roof," said Judith Neilan, manager at the Mattress Firm store, which is right across the parking lot.

Contractors say the thieves knocked over the air conditioning unit over a vacant shop, then once inside, they punched holes through each connecting wall until they got into Payless.

Neilan said this isn't the first time stores in the shopping center have been robbed. Old Navy and the old GNC have both been hit.

It's one reason why she's always careful when she leaves the store at night.

"I look out to the outside and look out to see that there's nobody out there, and then I leave," she said.

Contractors spent the morning assessing the damage, repairing the walls and the roof, while workers took inventory.

Back in July, police say thieves broke into five stores at Priest Point strip mall in south Nashville. Just like this most recent case, they climbed down through an AC vent and kicked in a wall to get inside.

In May, thieves ripped off a Qdoba and T-Mobile in Gallatin by breaking in through the roof.

"Would love to have a patrol car coming by, just make the rounds and come by, that would make us the retailers feel like we have more security," Neilan said.

Neither the police nor the employees of the Payless store would talk to Channel 4 on camera, but contractors said the thieves walked away empty-handed. It's not clear whether police have named any suspects.

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