LONDON, Ky. (WYMT) - Police in southern Kentucky are trying to figure out if several recent burglaries are connected.
Thieves hit six stores in Laurel, Whitley and Knox counties and Jellico, Tenn. Now police believe a pattern may be developing.
The X-press gas station off Interstate-75 in the Goldbug community of Whitley County is one of several stores in the area where burglars have struck recently. Two others were in Laurel County in the past month.
"(They were) burglarized for the purposes of breaking into an ATM machine at the two businesses," said Gilbert Acciardo with the laurel County Sheriff's Office. "One was at the Keavy Grocery in early January and the other was about a week ago near East Bernstadt."
Surveillance video from X-press appears to show the burglar using a sledgehammer to break open an ATM machine - the same method used in other recent burglaries.
"Once they force entry into the business, which is the first thing they have to do, then they're actually using an axe or a zaw saw or a sledgehammer or something of that nature to break into the ATM machine that's inside the business," Acciardo said.
Katherine Spencer works at X-press and said she was surprised when the store was burglarized in December. She also said she has been nervous going to work ever since the store was broken into.
"It was kind of shocking," Spencer said. "I was glad I was off that night, anyway. I've always been fearful of it working by myself here of the evenings that somebody is going to break in, so it was pretty scary to see that someone did."
Police need the public's help figuring out who is responsible for the burglaries.