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Thieves hit Baxter stores

Carrie Ritchie, owner of Turtles & Teacups, a children's boutique in Baxter Village, looks at a damaged wall in the shop after burglars broke into the store and took money.
Carrie Ritchie, owner of Turtles & Teacups, a children's boutique in Baxter Village, looks at a damaged wall in the shop after burglars broke into the store and took money.

FORT MILL -- Several business owners on Baxter's Market Street were treated to a rude awakening Friday morning.

Overnight, someone broke into at least three businesses on the street, according to store owners. Detectives with the York County Sheriff's office were investigating Friday afternoon.

When she arrived for work Friday morning, Carrie Ritchie discovered a hole two feet wide in the back wall of her children's clothing store, Turtles and Teacups. The burglar apparently kicked the hole through the wall from inside an adjacent business, Ritchie said.

Broken drywall still clinging to the green striped wallpaper inside was hanging from the edges of the hole and more of it littered the carpet below Friday afternoon. Black smudges surrounded the hole as well. Once inside, the burglar took money from the store. Ritchie did not specify how much.

Ritchie said this is the first such incident at her business.

"It's really sad -- because I grew up here -- to see (crime) escalating like it is," she said.

According to Ritchie, the burglar also stole money, computers and other electronics from some of her neighboring businesses.

Next door, the burglar also broke into a third business, Expressions Portrait Studios, according to owner Crystal Fadness. However, the robber entered Expressions through the back door, breaking the lock in the process.

Fadness said the burglary was also the first for her business. She lost several thousand dollars' worth of camera equipment, she said.

"It's a lesson learned. We'll have a security system installed now," Fadness said.

An official sheriff's office report on the burglary was not available Friday afternoon. A sheriff's office spokesman could not be reached.

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