BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Brazen burglars are going to the extreme - risking their lives to rip off stores in Buffalo.
It is shocking to see the lengths some people will go just to get their hands on a hot item. Thieves are cutting power lines and then breaking into stores.
Suspects targeted two locations, not far from each other in adjoining Buffalo neighborhoods. And News 4 learned of a third location later Wednesday afternoon. Is this setting up a pattern?
The RadioShack in the Black Rock neighborhood and the Advance Auto Parts in Riverside, as well as a business on Colvin, all had the power cut. The burglars only stole from one of those businesses and electricians say they could have just as easily electrocuted themselves.
National Grid responded to three calls for lost power on Wednesday. In each case, the electric meter was tampered with.
Even though the burglars were able to cut the power at Advance Auto Parts, the store's alarm still went off. So the crooks didn't even bother breaking inside.
Employees at RadioShack a mile away at Grant and Amherst Streets weren't so lucky. They came to work to find the window smashed.
But the situations were the same. Someone tampered with an electric meter, cutting power to the business. The burglars were able to break in and steal laptops and gaming systems.
And police say a third incident happened on the 100 block of Colvin.
Stories like these make 38-year veteran electrician Jim Driscoll shake his head.
News 4 reporter Lou Raguse asked, "How easily when they're pulling those meters off could they shock themselves?"
"Very easily. Everything is just a couple inches apart from ground to an energized wire," Driscoll explained.
There are no apparent signs the crooks were hurt in these most recent cases.
"You would think a lot more people would be getting seriously injured. There's so much power there. There's really no fusing on that. It's pretty much backed up by Niagara Falls. And it's just going to electrocute you," said Driscoll.
He says if you get shocked, you're dead. Despite these cases, police spokesman Mike DeGeorge tells News 4 the chief from those districts insists there is not a serial burglary problem.
Anyone with information on these crimes can call the Buffalo Police confidential tip line at 847-2255.
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