Alleged Thieves Steal Keys To Almost Every Car On Local Business Owner’s Lot

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- The owners of a local small business said they haven't slept in days because they've been through quite an ordeal trying to get their stuff back after a recent commercial burglary.

The owner of Allen Motors explained, "Saturday morning, we come into work and found a surprise. Somebody had thrown this rock... through the window. They busted it over where this plywood is and began to rob us."

Allen then said the thieves stole the keys to almost every car on his lot.

"There's a lot of keys, about 40 keys here," he said.

The thieves reportedly got away with keys, televisions, computer screens, power tools and a car.

"They used my bolt cutters that they stole from our shop and cut our chain fence. Then all they had to do was drive the vehicle on out."

So Allen and his friends reinforced the fence with a one-inch cable.

"They did come back the next night and tried to break it but they weren't successful. Also, weren't smart enough to realize I disarmed every vehicle on the lot so they couldn't get them out," Allen explained.

Allen and police set up surveillance in the vicinity in case the thieves returned. He added that he stayed up all night waiting to see if they'd come back again, and they reportedly did.

"We sat out across the street and sat there and sure enough, around 1:45 in the morning, we saw them return," the owners explained.

Marion K. Payne, 47, of Fayetteville and Bryan K. Nelson, 40, of Springdale are accused of the commercial burglary.

Payne has been arrested on suspicion of felony burglary, vehicle theft and parole violation, as well as misdemeanor loitering. He remained Tuesday (April 11) in the Sebastian County Detention Center without bond because of the parole violation.

Nelson is facing felony burglary and vehicle theft charges, as well as misdemeanor charges of second-degree criminal mischief, fleeing apprehension, loitering and refusal to submit to arrest. He also remained Tuesday in the Detention Center, but in lieu of a $9,900 bond.

The two reportedly stole a Honda from Allen's Motors and abandoned it when they ran from police. The Honda was returned to the business.

Allen said he's bothered by what he discovered in the front seat.

"I guess they got the munchies because they stole the popcorn I got. I bought a nice sack of candy in Missouri on a trip. I guess they had the munchies and got hungry. Thieves gotta eat, too. It's a hard life," Allen said.

He added, "It's my whole life. I've been doing it next to 25 years. It's all we got. We're not a big corporation. We're just a small family owned business. It's like our home. It's like they broke into our home."

Allen says this was the first major break-in he's had on his property.