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Police: Thieves followed I-65

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A string of weekend burglaries targeting businesses along Interstate 65 in southern Indiana — including Columbus, Seymour and Edinburgh — likely were committed by the same person or people, police say.

Entire cash registers or parts of them taken from stores and restaurants were recovered near seven I-65 interchanges, from Sellersburg in deep southern Indiana to Columbus, police said.

A Columbus restaurant, just off I-65’s Exit 68, was among the businesses hit.

At 3:50 a.m. Sunday, Columbus police responded to an alarm at the Lincoln Square Restaurant, 2315 W. Jonathan Moore Pike. The owner was waiting for police in the parking lot. Police were told that entry was gained through the restaurant’s front door, and a cash register containing an undisclosed amount of money was missing, said Lt. Matt Myers, the Columbus department’s spokesman.

Where to call

People with information regarding weekend burglaries along Interstate 65 should contact:

Columbus: Detective Ryan Linneweber, 376-2600

Seymour: Detective C.J. Foster, 522-5131

Edinburgh: Deputy Chief David Lutz, 526-2636

The register was recovered late Sunday morning near the northbound rest park at the 72-mile marker, about four miles away, Myers said.

After checking with law enforcement agencies in neighboring communities, Columbus police learned that a store at Edinburgh Premium Outlets was burglarized that same night.

The glass front door to Tools and More, 11670 Executive Drive, appeared to have been broken out with a pry bar, Edinburgh Deputy Police Chief David Lutz said. He said the only thing taken appears to have been the cash register.

The Edinburgh break-in was reported at 8:18 a.m. Sunday by an employee of an adjacent store. Lutz said he’s awaiting surveillance video that will give him an accurate time for the burglary.

Most of the cash registers taken from Edinburgh was recovered off Carr Hill Road on the west side of Columbus, not far from the Lincoln Square Restaurant, Lutz said. However, a piece also was found near the Sellersburg exit, seven miles north of the Indiana-Kentucky line.

Seymour police said a similar burglary was reported at 12:21 a.m. Sunday at the new Tokyo Hibachi and Sushi restaurant, 1519 E. Tipton St. Pieces of the register taken from the Japanese restaurant were recovered later that day off I-65, about three miles south of the U.S. 50 interchange in southern Jackson County.

Seymour Police Detective C.J. Foster, who described the crimes as “smash-and-grabs,” said the same method of operation was used for two other recent burglaries near the interstate in Seymour at the following locations:

Jan. 23 – La Mejor grocery store, 108 E. Tipton St.

Feb. 5 — El Nopal Mexican restaurant, 1863 E. Tipton St.

Parts of the register stolen from La Mejor were found off Jonathan Moore Pike in Columbus, Foster said. He added that the register taken from El Nopal was found at the State Road 236 interchange at the Jackson-Scott county line.

Foster said he believes the same person or people are responsible for all the weekend burglaries. Lutz and Myers agree.

“Obviously, they did take quite a few (cash registers) and didn’t get caught,” Myers said. “They seem to be organized and know what they are doing by getting in and out quickly.”

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