Two attempt to break into roof of Ardmore shopping center

Sierra Rains
Alexander Steffans (left) and Dennis Fuhrmann (right)

Two people were arrested early Tuesday morning after police reportedly caught them trying to break into the roof of an Ardmore strip mall. 

Ardmore Police Department Sgt. Juan Galicia said officers were dispatched to the shopping center on 12th Avenue Northwest, known as the Ardmore Commons, at around 1 a.m. in reference to a “roof hatch” alarm going off. 

Upon arrival, officers made contact with two subjects identified as 19-year-old Alexander Steffans and 19-year-old Dennis Fuhrmann, both of Ardmore. 

“They learned that the subjects had made their way on top of the roof and appeared to have attempted to gain entry into one or more of the businesses there in that strip,” Galicia said. 

Several retail stores and miscellaneous businesses including a pet store and a cell phone store are located in the shopping strip, each with roof access guarded with an alarm. “The moment that that hatch is tampered with and that hatch is opened up, typically the alarms go off,” Galicia said. 

The suspects did not make entry into any of the buildings, Galicia said. Both individuals reportedly ran from the area after the alarm went off, and were taken into custody once police arrived. “I think quite possibly the alarm went off and spooked them, causing them to try to run,” Galicia said. 

Steffans and Fuhrmann are currently being held at the Carter County jail for second-degree attempted burglary, according to Carter County booking reports. Galicia said the suspects did not appear to be targeting any specific business or item. 

“I would assume anything they could get their hands on — whether it was money or any type of valuables,” Galicia said in regards to the motive. “There’s really no telling.”

This incident is one of many burglaries that have occurred throughout the city recently. Galicia said police may be seeing a rise in burglaries as a result of the pandemic and a large number of job losses. However, not all can be attributed to unemployment. 

“I think a lot of them too are just kind of unfortunate — they just decide that that’s what they’re going to do,” Galicia said. “They don’t want to go out and work for a living, they choose to go out and commit burglaries and thefts rather than going out and making an honest living.”