Smash-and-grab robberies hit over 15 downtown Albany shops

      ALBANY, Ore. - More than a dozen businesses in downtown Albany are putting up plywood next to their front window Christmas displays after thieves smashed in doors and stole petty cash late Saturday night.

      The businesses - mainly located up and down 1st Street - said the thieves broke through their glass front doors and took petty cash and small items like hair products, hand lotions and acrylic paint tubes.

      "This is stupid," said Al Severson, owner of The Frame Shop. "They couldn't even hold on to some of the stuff they were stealing. We were picking up coins all over the sidewalk all (Sunday) morning."

      Severson's store was one of at least 15 stores that were hit by petty cash thieves.

      He said thieves did not touch his projects that he was working on and for the most part ignored his merchandise.

      "They took about twenty bucks and my Black Velvet," he said. "They're just lucky I wasn't here. When it's busy like it is now, I sleep here in between working on things. If I would've caught them, they'd have felt sorry."

      The Albany Police Department was not immediately available for comment Monday on the burglaries, but witnesses said they were questioned by police and were told officers are still investigating.