Shane Bivins, owner of Sonny s BBQ, displays the stove pipe that was broken during a late-night break-in of his store last weekend. Bivins said that the
Shane Bivins, owner of Sonny s BBQ, displays the stove pipe that was broken during a late-night break-in of his store last weekend. Bivins said that the problem of break-ins in his neighborhood is getting worse. (Brian Rash)
Shane Bivins represents a growing demographic in the city of Graham. He is among the latest victims in what officials and area residents speculate are drug related break-ins of small businesses in the city.

This past week, four local businesses were broken into including Fred's Carpets, Lucky Lizard, and Bivins' restaurant, Sonny's Bar-B-Q, all of which are located in a close cluster near the 1000 block of Fourth Street.

Early Thursday at around 2 a.m., Bivins was out at his restaurant making sure it didn't get broken into again after hearing on a police scanner that Lucky Lizard, the establishment next door to his, was broken into. He is understandably frustrated.

“It's getting ridiculous,” the business owner said. “Every night, it's something different. It's the same meth-heads that are running around on bicycles with backpacks and hoodies, and they're going from place to place during the night, and they're stealing everything they can get their hands on.”

Prior to the Thursday morning break in at Lucky Lizard, Sonny's Bar-B-Q was broken into two days in a row on Saturday and Sunday night, Dec. 28 and 29. Bivins said that prior to these break-ins he has spent over $3,500 dollars outfitting his restaurant with reinforced bars and cages for his protruding air conditioner equipment.

But despite those security adjustments, Bivins added that during the last break-in earlier this week, corrugated metal from his walls were badly damaged, and a large stove pipe was broken. The second night that Sonny's was broken into, Sunday, Dec. 29, Fred's Carpets across the street was also broken into.

Fred Ortegon, owner of Fred's Carpets for 40 years, said that the early Monday morning break-in of his business is just one of many.

“This is the fourth time we've been broken into in the last six months,” Ortegon said. “They've also broken into the red barn in the back (of Fred's Carpets). They take just little things, something they can (use to) make a quick sale for drugs.”

Read the entire story in the weekend edition of The Graham Leader.
The pile of tools represents recovered items stolen from the storage area of Fred s Carpets on Fourth Street. Owners recovered the items after noticing
The pile of tools represents recovered items stolen from the storage area of Fred s Carpets on Fourth Street. Owners recovered the items after noticing them in a nearby vacated apartment in which the tenant was evicted, according to Fred and Michael Ortegon, owners of Fred s Carpets. (Brian Rash)