SARATOGA SPRINGS — An unusually large number of burglaries have taken place at downtown businesses since the start of the month.
Police say indications are that the robberies are the work of two men breaking into businesses during the overnight hours, stealing cash and in some cases creating general mayhem with store merchandise.
“It was all in the area of what we refer to as the downtown business district - Broadway being the center, going out to West Avenue and between Van Dam and West Circular Street,” says Saratoga Springs Police Lt. Bob Jillson. “We had five in that vicinity, and then we had a couple of more this past weekend.”
Investigators are reaching out to their resources, gathering prints and examining video footage in attempts to identify the people responsible for the break-ins. They are also seeking images of better quality than they have viewed thus far to potentially release to the public.
“It looks like it’s a couple of males, going through shops and taking any money on hand,” Lt. Jillson said.
A Church Street bike shop, West Avenue eatery, and a local wine shop are among the businesses believed to have been affected.
“When I came in in the morning, I found the drawer of our cash register out of our register and sitting on top of the front desk with no money in it, so I immediately knew that someone was in here doing something wrong,” said Colby Smith, manager of Saratoga Signature Interiors, whose store was among those burglarized.
He said it was the first time the shop, located on Church Street since 2003, had been robbed overnight. The desks had been rifled through and he estimated $150 to $300 was taken. Nothing appeared to be broken.
“I was talking with a detective, and we seemed to be in agreement they went through the Bilco (basement) doors – there was a footprint on it - although I’m not 100% certain. The detectives are looking into it.” The door was unlocked, he added. His was one of a handful of area shops burglarized overnight.
“Right now, the way they’re getting in these places is an unlocked window, things like that. Let’s tighten it up. As a society we’ve gotten a sense of comfort – we don’t expect that to happen here, and lo and behold, it happens,” Lt. Jillson says.
“We’ve been pretty fortunate to not have had any kind of sprees like this; We get a couple here and there, maybe something of opportunity, but seven or so in a matter of a week is not the norm for us,” Jillson says. “Seven of them is people going out there on a mission. Someone’s going out there with purpose to break into places, so we have to be a little defensive minded - make sure we throw that deadbolt, that the last person to go out is checking the windows are locked and make sure the police know about it so we can get out there.”