Friday, February 28, 2014
Trouble at T.J. Maxx
On Feb. 15, Summerville Police responded to T.J. Maxx in Azalea Square for an alarm.
Although the front doors were secure, police discovered the rear door open. Officers called in a K-9 Unit to clear the building while they set up a perimeter.
Inside, they smelled an odor that smelled like burning electrical wires or hot metal. They observed an orange electrical extension cord hanging from a hole in the ceiling tiles, and various tools lying around including a hammer, screwdriver and an electric impact tool. A rectangular hole had been cut in the drywall that was approximately 1.5-feet by 2-feet in area. Inside this opening police could observe a second opening in the opposite wall and what appeared to be gray metal.
The gray metal – a safe – had a thin vertical cut that was approximately 9 inches in length. It appeared to have been made by a power tool with a cutting wheel.
In the room police observed two pieces of drywall leaning against a wall and a lot of white drywall dust and debris. The top of a black file cabinet was covered in white dust and several footprints.
Summerville Fire Department was dispatched to the scene with equipment to enable officers to access the roof. On the roof police discovered that entry was made through the rooftop air conditioning vent.
The T.J. Maxx loss prevention manager responded to the scene and told police that in response to a group that had been breaking into stores throughout the southeast, the store had added vibration alarms to the safe. In fact, the alarm company verified, the safe alarm was the first to go off, triggering the main alarm. The back door alarm was the last.
Further investigation determined that a hole in the AC ductwork allowed the individuals to travel inside the ductwork exiting above the office, walk along water pipes and exit through the drop ceiling.
Store security video showed a man in dark colored clothing, wearing gloves, walking toward the back of the store.