Market owner catches burglar in the act - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Market owner catches burglar in the act

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Ron Smith Ron Smith
The Root Cellar The Root Cellar

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A crime in Old Louisville at a mom and pop market had neighbors fearing it might close, but the owner said he has no intention of shutting the doors.

At the corner of 3rd and Hill Streets, neighbors call it, "A fresh food oasis in Old Louisville's food desert."

The Root Cellar market owner Ron Smith loves talking farm raised beef and home-grown vegetables, but Friday his customers were more interested in Smith's well-being including Councilman David James.

James explained, "As soon as I heard about it, I was like, The Root Cellar got broken into?"

Smith got a wake-up call at 4:30 Thursday morning from his alarm company, but squirrels had been getting into the building through a hole and tripping the alarm so, he called off police, drove to the store and drove up on the culprit.

Surprise - it wasn't a squirrel.

Smith said of the burglar, "The guy poked his head in the hole in the window." The window had been smashed out. 

Smith yelled at him from his car window, "As he walked by me, I said, did you just break into my building?" Smith said he could see the man had his computer monitor tucked behind him.

The thief also had Smith's cash drawer. Smith followed him in his car, calling 911.

"I was just mad," Smith recalled, "It was such a shock."

When police got there, the burglar had slipped out of sight, upsetting loyal customers who feared the small business might have to close.

Customer Renee Crocket said, "It's very disheartening when the actions of some loser put that (the store) in jeopardy because this is a business and when you live here you want businesses to be successful."

The store's supporters flooded Facebook. One neighbor even donated a replacement computer monitor. It all overwhelmed Smith and changed his outlook overnight.

"It's really nice to know that people like what you do and they care about what you do," he said, "It means a lot you know?"

Crocket told us her home was also broken into a couple of weeks ago.

We asked Councilman James about recent crime in the area. He said, the 4th Police Division Commander told him crime has gone down overall in Old Louisville. He hopes the burglaries are isolated.

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