ST. TAMMANY PARISH, LA (WVUE) - The owner of a 100-year-old St. Tammany grocery store is at wits end after six break-ins in the past four years. The Sheriff's Office now said there could be other stores that have been targeted by the same robbers.
Since 1913, the Talisheek Grocery has been the lifeblood of the small town in the northern part of the parish. Customers with nowhere else to go nearby have relied on it for basic necessities, but lately some thieves have threatened its very existence.
"It's cost me thousands and thousands to replace stuff they steal from me," said store owner Tracy Moore.
Thieves most recently struck the grocery last week. Moore captured them on one of 16 surveillance cameras she has installed in the small store.
"I think there's more cameras in the store that at the bank," Moore said.
People in the town are saddened by the robberies. They say Moore does all she can to help others.
"It's terrible. She didn't deserve this, she's good people," said longtime customer Georgia Wood.
For Moore the crimes are serious and personal. She's trying to make a difference, but doesn't know if she can go on. She has set up a gofundme page to try to recover some of what she lost and create something for young people to do.
"Something for these kids to do so they don't have to rob the only store in town," Moore said.
St. Tammany Sheriff Randy Smith believes the suspects may have struck other grocery stores in Abita Springs and Bush, and may have been driving a white pickup truck.
"We've had a couple of crimes like this similar MO," he said. "We've got some video surveillance, and we have dusted for fingerprints that we are analyzing."
While the sheriff hopes to make an arrest soon, Moore struggles to stay open.
"I would much rather have the family say, 'Let's figure out what you stole and make restitution,'" said Moore.
In the meantime, she said she'll soon be installing metal doors and bars on the store windows.
If you have any information that could lead to an arrest, call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111. You could be eligible for a reward.