Police investigating whether 2 latest burglaries connected to 6 others since first of year

Two Dickson restaurants are the latest victims in a string of eight burglaries targeting businesses since the first of the year. Police say Farmers Family Restaurant on East Christi Drive was hit Tuesday morning while Ponderosa Steakhouse on Henslee Drive was hit late Sunday night or early Monday morning. Because of similarities between this week’s burglaries and previous break-ins, police are checking into the possibility that some or all of them might be connected to the same people. Det. Kelly Owen said at least two people broke into Farmers Family Restaurant shortly after 1 am Tuesday by using a large screwdriver to pry open a rear door. Owen said video surveillance shows the pair unsuccessfully attempting to open or remove the restaurant’s safe before ransacking the office. For more than an hour the pair tried to open drawers and more before removing a 52-inch flat screen television from a wall then smashing vending machines and games to remove the coins. Ponderosa employees discovered the restaurant had been burglarized Monday morning. Entry was made by prying open a rear door and the thief or thieves tried unsuccessfully to break into the safe before going through the office and breaking into the vending machines. Since mid-January, similar break-ins have been reported at Speed Lube on Highway 46, Dickson Rebuilders on Sylvis Street, Dale’s Steakhouse on Highway 70 East, Las Plazas on Highway 46, Tony B’s in the Dickson Plaza Shopping Center and Chappell’s Home Town Foods in Pomona. Owen said investigators are following several leads on the burglaries. Anyone with information about any of the break-ins can call the anonymous tipline at 441-9555 or the Criminal Investigations Division at 441-9592.