Blaine residents arm themselves after string of break-ins

(WBIR-Blaine) In Grainger County, residents of Blaine say they don't feel safe after a string of burglaries. Neighbors say they know of at least 26 break-ins within the past month or so.

"Everybody is scared to death. People are sitting with guns at their front doors, guns by their beds, guns in their cars. It's not safe here right now," said Mandi Davis of Blaine.

Davis knows of at least 26 break-ins within a 6 mile radius from Buffalo Springs Rd., through Indian Ridge Rd., down to Richland Rd.

Davis' home was broken into about two weeks ago; burglar/s stole $6,000 worth of jewelry. Neighbors say the burglar/s normally strike during the day, and take mostly jewelry.

"My kids are scared to death. If our dogs start barking, they want to know if it's a bad guy coming," Davis said.

Grainger Co. Mayor Mark Hipsher addressed the break-ins on Wednesday saying, "There's a real public concern there. People are afraid, elderly people are especially afraid at night. Of course, we have an ongoing investigation into that."

Chief Deputy Charles Biddle addressed the matter, asking for the public's help with leads. Biddle said the largest case involved $110,000 worth of stolen copper.

Authorities have arrested five people.

They charged Jimmy Brown II, 21, and Danny Brown, 48, both of Rutledge, with theft over $1,000 and theft over $10,000. Ashley Brumbalough, 23, Darryl Brumbalough, 27, and Travis Brogan, 33, all from Luttrell, were charged with theft over $500 and theft over $10,000.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Danny Brown was the only one out of jail.

Neighbors say the most recent break-in happened Wednesday morning; they believe those responsible for a majority of the thefts are still out there.

According to Chief Deputy Biddle, they are still working on "quite a few cases."

"Once you know somebody's been in your house, it does something to you," said Shirley Irwin, whose home was broken into about a week ago.

Irwin also had her jewelry stolen. Detectives are working the case but Irwin is still arming herself.

"I left the other day and was scared to death... afraid that they'd hit me again," Irwin said.

There have been several reports of people ringing the doorbell, asking for gas money. Davis believes that is their excuse to find out if residents are home.

"You don't lock your doors, you don't worry about your kids going outside to play. So for this to be happening, it's an awful feeling," she said.

The community is forming a neighborhood watch. There will be a meeting Thursday at 7 p.m. at Bashert Baptist Church, 928 Richland Rd., Blaine.

During the meeting, there will be other residents patrolling the area.


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