Several businesses in Pitt, Martin and Edgecombe counties have been broken into in the last year and a half, and deputies said they are investigating the twelve cases as being related.
In the latest incident, thieves smashed a hole through the wall of Express Food Mart, on Highway 33 in the Grimesland area. Vonda Thompson, the biscuit maker, discovered early Sunday morning that two safes were missing from the store.
"First thing you think is panic [like] 'Oh my god, are they still in there?' or 'Is he waiting for me to come in and possibly not notice it?' But I'm glad it was able to be seen versus him in here hiding somewhere," Thompson said.
Deputies are reviewing surveillance video of the incident, according to a Pitt County Sheriff's Office spokesperson.
In late March, thieves knocked two holes through a wall of Belvoir Corner Stop, off N.C. 33 West, deputies said. The burglars stole a safe filled with $40,000 in cash, checkbooks and credit cards.
No arrests have been made as authorities said the thieves wear gloves and cover their face or faces, making it difficult to figure out the person or group of people responsible for these crimes.
In all of the cases, the thieves busted a hole in the back wall to gain entry inside.
Captain Paula Dance said the thieves have mostly targeted convenience stores. However, they have also targeted an internet café, along with a dentist office.
“Most of the stores are in isolated area. Not a whole lot of traffic going on at night. Most of the [entryways] are being made through the back of the store, which would not make it visible for someone that was passing by any way," Dance said.
If you know anything about these cases you are asked to contact the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office or CrimeStoppers.