SULLIVAN, Mo. - Young burglars are causing a lot of frustration among business owners in Sullivan, Missouri after forcing a sports bar to close due to their thievery.
Sullivan Bowl and Family Fun Center is one of the places recently hit by burglars, whom police suspect are 12 to 14 years of age.
“I would say it’s the same group of kids doing it,” said Alex Ockrassa, manager of the bowling alley.
The crimes seem to be the talk of the business community in Sullivan. Police say there have been more than twenty burglaries of churches and businesses since last fall involving young people.
“As a small business especially, nobody really understands the cost of running a business day-to-day and for something like that to happen, it can cripple you; it can hurt you,” Ockrassa said.
The burglaries forced the closure of local sports bar Jekyll & Hyde’s. On the bar’s Facebook page, the owner said he’s been targeted six times in the last four months. He posted a video of the burglary.
“We have had to sit in constant fear of ‘when will we be robbed again?’”
He estimated it almost $3,000 in losses and repairs every time a burglary has occurred.
“Very, very angry and frustrated. I don’t know what would compel a person to break into a person’s place where they make a living and try to provide for their families,” Ockrassa said.
No one was blaming the police. In fact, business owners commended the department.
Police said they’re frustrated, too, adding that juveniles are brought in, usually turned over to their parents, and the case sent to juvenile authorities. What happens after that is kept private.
Four businesses, including Peterson Oil, were hit over the weekend.
“I want to make sure no one gets hurt,” said Shane Carey, manager at Peterson Oil.
Police said they’re upset by parents who are irresponsible when it comes to raising their kids and allowing them back out on the streets. Authorities said it’s difficult to hold parents responsible because of the way laws are written and changing.