Workers at Lowe’s in Franklin came into work this week to find a hole in the roof, where one or more burglars had come into the store the night before.
Franklin police are trying to figure out who scaled the building, spray-painted a security camera, cut a hole in the roof and climbed down to a tall shelving unit to gain access to the store.
Store workers are doing an inventory to see what was taken in the unusual, overhead break-in, but employees said it looked like copper pipe and fittings were one of the targets, according to a police report. Police were called about 9 a.m. Monday when workers noticed the hole in the roof.
“I haven’t seen a case of people cutting into a roof, especially a building as tall and large as Lowe’s. We’ve had some cases where some people tried to cut into the side of a building and get in that way. It’s kind of out of the ordinary for us. It just makes you wonder where they’re coming up with the idea,” Franklin Police Department Detective Adam Joseph said.
The store manager could not be reached for comment.
Franklin police are in the early stages of an investigation. Police haven’t reviewed security footage yet, so they don’t know how many people were involved, whether they drove up to the store in a vehicle and exactly how they got into the store. The store has security cameras on both the exterior and interior of the store, Joseph said.
But the initial investigation showed the person responsible knew how to get inside.
Joseph said whoever broke in likely got up to the roof using an access ladder built into the rear of the store. The ladder is in a fenced-off area that is locked, but the locks were missing from the gates, he said.
On the roof, the burglar or burglars made a small incision into the ceiling before moving over and cutting a larger hole to gain entry, Joseph said. Large shelves that extend up toward the ceiling are located under the hole, so a person could climb or drop down a short distance onto the top of the shelves, he said.
“They cut a slit in the roof. I think they were trying to figure out the best point of entry. It’s like they started cutting the hole and realized they weren’t in the right place, so they moved over a couple feet,” Joseph said.
Police found an extension ladder that was left on the roof but aren’t sure yet whether it was carried up to the roof and used to descend into the store or whether it was taken from inside the store and used to climb back onto the roof, Joseph said.
So far, police only know that some copper tubing was taken. Police found one piece of tubing outside that looks like it was tossed off the roof, Joseph said.
If burglars were going after scrap metal, they didn’t attempt to pull parts out of any of the air handlers or air conditioners on the roof, he said.
Anyone with information about the break-in should contact Joseph at 346-1145.