Local Business Falls Victim to Burglary - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Local Business Falls Victim to Burglary

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The burglary of a Panama City business has the attention of the Bay County Sheriff's Office and investigators are turning to the public for assistance in solving the crime.

Several large warehouses behind the old airport were broken into, but items were stolen from only one of them.

It wasn't until he looked closely, that Hardy James, a local businessman, realized he had been burglarized.

"I didn't suspect anything at first and then we realized that there were gaps in the business," he said. "There were individual items taken off of shelves, so the entire shelf wasn't cleared off... Just select items."

James rents a hangar behind the old airport off Jackson Way, from which he runs an upholstery business. When he showed up to start work on Monday morning, he realized a selective burglar had already come and gone.

"It's was what it take to start a business or to run a business and at this point we just don't know where to go. We don't think this was taken to be sold; we think it was to be used."

Among the things stolen, a $6000 dollar sewing machine, many tools, a hand gun and some personal property that was being stored in the building. All-together valued at more than $14,000.

James doesn't think the value mattered to the thieves.

"The items that were stolen, some weren't worth anything.  They stole all of our thread.

They stole one tool and left another, they stole a kit with Dremel parts, but they didn't steal the Dremel in the box next to it… They didn't need it, that's my opinion any way."

He says it's not the stuff he cares about... It's his livelihood. He has no way to operate his business at the moment and if he could only get the sewing machine back, he could rebuild. Regardless, he says it's a lot to take in.

"I don't feel safe and it's not the property, it's that I went from feeling anonymous in this world to feeling targeting and that is a very vulnerable feeling."

James says he will be able to offer a $2,500 reward, if there is someone who can help him locate his stolen property. The Bay County Sheriff's office continues to investigate the burglary.

If you have any information on the crime, you are urged to call the Bay County Sheriff's Office at 850-747-4700 or the Crime stoppers tips line, 850-785-TIPS (8477)