Is the recent rash of commercial burglaries stretching from New Hope to Bristol Borough the work of a lone criminal with an appetite for easy money?
Most of the businesses struck are everyday restaurants. Entry is typically made through a window, often smashed or accessed by pushing in an air conditioner, often at around 1:30 a.m. The actor always goes right for the cash register, skipping other items that might be easily fenced. And there seem to be similarities in the appearance of the burglar from videos taken at the various crime scenes.
The most recent break-ins took place early Thursday morning in Bristol Borough. The burglar gained access to Annabella’s Restaurant on Radcliffe Street through a rear window, and rifled through the cash register which contained no money, then fled. A second burglary took place at Chuck’s BBQ on Pond Street at 1:40 a.m., when a window was broken, a register accessed, and again no money was found by the outlaw. The suspect is described as a male, approximately five feet-10 inches tall, with a thin build, and wearing a dark jacket, light colored pants with dirty knees, and gray sneakers.
“We believe the actor is possibly associated with other burglaries taking place within the county,” Bristol Borough Police said in a statement.
Bensalem Police are investigating a burglary at Belly Busters on Bristol Pike that took place a day earlier, on Feb. 5, at 1:24 a.m. An unknown actor forced open the bathroom window, made entry into the business, and removed cash and coins from two registers.
Dominick’s Pizzeria in Washington Crossing was broken into Tuesday, Feb. 4, at 1:40 a.m. through a smashed front window, police say.
And Newtown Borough Police are investigating commercial burglaries in the downtown business district during the early morning hours on Jan. 12, 18 and 23. In all three, entry was gained through first floor windows, and in the Jan. 23 incident, police said a tall man wearing a hooded jacket was seen fleeing a store around 1 a.m.
New Hope has experienced five burglaries in recent weeks, on Jan. 21, 25, and 31. The break-ins included Jaffron Indian restaurant at 11 W. Bridge St., Lion’s Den Tattoo Studio on Ney Alley, and Surrender lingerie store on West Mechanic Street. In all the instances, a window was smashed or air conditioner pushed in, and the cash register targeted.
While it’s certainly not uncommon for burglars to enter through broken windows, target cash registers, or wear hoodies, face coverings and sneakers, police from the various jurisdictions seem to be taking notice of similarities in the recent break-ins.
“We are coordinating and sharing all our evidence with these police departments,” said New Hope Police Chief Mike Cummings.
It’s not known how many other burglaries may be involved in the recent rash, or how far back in time they may have begun.
A pair of March 30, 2019, burglaries at the Anchor Crossing strip mall in Wrightstown show similarities to the more recent crimes. An alarm at the Hometown Deli sounded, and police discovered that the front door had been forced open, and lock cylinders were removed on three additional businesses.
Various amounts of cash were stolen from each business, and surveillance video inside Dominick’s Pizza captured two bad guys.
Did one of those actors decide to go solo?
Several police departments were contacted for this article, and many were not immediately available for comment.
Special thanks to Tom Sofield of LevittownNow for his assistance with this article.