Virginia Highland Targeted by Smash-and-Grab Thieves

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Businesses around the Virginia Highland neighborhood fear for the safety of their stores during the holiday season, following a series of smash-and-grab thefts in boutiques along the popular North Highland Avenue.

Police are working to link the crimes and other similar incidents city-wide to local gang activity.

The store Threadz is the most recent neighborhood target, after thieves used a vehicle to smash into the boutique Tuesday morning. The store had been burglarized weeks before on November 9th. According to the police report, thieves stole numerous shoes and designer denim items during the first heist.

The store 310 Rosemont shared with FOX 5 surveillance of two break-ins on November 12th and 14th. The thieves used a rock to smash the window and stole more than $10,000 worth of designer denim during the first incident. Two days later, six thieves invaded the store and stole numerous brand-name items.

One of the owners of 310 Rosemont told FOX 5 over the phone the ordeal has been alarming, considering the neighborhood's family-friendly atmosphere.

Jewelry store Judith Bright also told FOX 5 its store was damaged on November 22nd by thieves attempting to unsuccessfully break into the boutique.

Owners and workers of numerous stores said businesses have stepped up security, from hiring guards, to working on installing more surveillance cameras and bars on windows.

"It's unfortunate these businesses are being affected so negatively by these people being so selfish," said Ashley Tindall, manager of Half-Moon Outfitters, which is working on getting additional surveillance.

"It's daunting to think that could be your store next," she said.

Atlanta police, who said officers have stepped up patrols around the neighborhood, are tracking smash-and-grab thefts across the city. A theft at North Face occurred in Buckhead the same morning as the most recent burglary at Threadz. FOX 5 also obtained surveillance from a smash-and-grab Sunday at the Dillard's at Atlantic Station, where thieves used a car to smash into the store.