Demand for glass repair grows after widespread Milwaukee car break-ins
It's not the gift anyone wanted this Christmas: shattered glass.
That's what a lot of visitors woke-up to Tuesday morning after widespread car break-ins across Milwaukee's downtown. East Kilbourne Avenue was one of several spots hit. Not far away - in River West - drivers say that North Humboldt Avenue was also targeted.
The work has been constant at Safe Auto Glass on South 27th Street. It's waiting room became a holiday gathering space for the Kniep sisters. The younger - Kathryn - was staying downtown with her older sister Tara.
"And we woke up the next morning and there was a police officer at our door saying 'There were a bunch of break-ins. We think that your car is one of them'. And we saw just a row of car after car with multiple windows smashed including mine and my sisters," Tara Kniep said.
"They just went through my glove compartment and they didn't find anything in there. So maybe they just went on to the next car," Kathryn Kniep said.
Tom Almaghrabi owns the shop. He says his employees have been doing around 15 repairs a day related to break-ins.
"I mean, all my customers today and yesterday and the day before, they say 'They don't take anything out of my car. They don't even touch my car'," Almaghrabi said.
The Kniep sisters had to cancel their travel plans today because of the damage to their vehicles.
"The first time it was actually pretty scary, just having your privacy violated like that is really something that I'm not used to. I grew up in a small town," Tara Kniep said.
"I was upset about it but when we walked out and we were seeing all the cars...it's just like, it's very different to see in person," Kathryn Kniep said.
Almaghrabi offered this advice: if you're looking to park in Milwaukee you should find a space that has security cameras but also is surrounded by a tall, gated fence.