Stephenville police swarmed the Bosque River Center Thursday morning, barricading the parking lot with police cruisers to prevent anyone from entering the shopping center.
Police Chief Jason King said the shopping center was shut down for several hours Thursday morning after an alarm sounded in JC Penney overnight. When officers arrived at the scene, they discovered that thieves had entered the building by cutting a hole through the roof.
"When officers arrived they noticed all of the doors were still locked and there was about a 15-foot drop from ceiling to floor," King said.
Concerned that thieves could still be inside, King said officers "backed out of the building and called in our regional response team."
Authorities found no one inside the building.
"Some leftover evidence told us (the thieves) left the same way they came in - through the hole in the roof," he said.
The Erath County Sheriff's Office used its drone to search other roofs of businesses located in the center.
"At this point we don't believe any other business were affected," King said.
King said investigators are now working to determine how much merchandise was stolen.
One business owner who asked not to be named went to the Bosque River Center about 7:30 a.m., but was told by police that she could not enter her store.
"A police officer told me they were investigating a theft at JC Penney and were trying to figure out if other businesses were hit," she said. "I asked them if mine was affected and he said he didn't know."
Police cruisers and what appears to be some type of tactical team were positioned behind the retailer.
Wade Morrow, a truck driver with Mid-Way Transportation delivering supplies to Tractor Supply about 6 a.m., said police approached him and told him to leave because of an "active situation."
The E-T will bring you more information as it becomes available.