Business owners in Niagara-on-the-Lake are on high alert after a series of break-ins early last Wednesday morning.
Four small businesses were among those hit during the overnight early-morning thefts: York Barber Lounge in St. Davids, Handmade Presence and the Garrison House in the Garrison Village plaza, and Bliss Aveda Salon in Virgil.
Const. Barry Ravenek of the Niagara Regional Police confirmed officers were investigating the four overnight break-and-enters.
Businesses in the Garrison Village plaza were targeted around 4:49 a.m., according to security footage from the Garrison House.
Elizabeth Bruce from York Barber Lounge said the three security cameras at her shop cut out at 5:47 a.m. and came back around 5:53 a.m.
The suspect’s face in the video was fully covered and the person was wearing a light-coloured hoodie.
Ravenek said the male suspect was wearing a black hat, black bandana on his face, grey hoodie with the hood up, dark blue construction pants and gloves.
Brittney Marino from Handmade Presence said it looked like he was wearing construction pants, with reflective stripes.
In the break-in at York Barber Lounge, the person may have used a wifi blocker to turn off the main security cameras, said Bruce.
Since the three main security cameras were out, she said they don’t have footage of the glass being shattered.
“The suspect is believed to have used a glass-breaking tool to gain entry,” Ravenek said.
But because the alarm went off, another camera near the door captured video footage of the suspect running in.
Marino said she was a bit shaken up from the incident.
She said the thief smashed through her front door window and climbed in, tossed her $1,000 cash register to the floor and when he couldn’t get it open, he took the whole register.
He was in and out within two minutes, she said.
Bruce said her window also was smashed and the cash register also was stolen.
The thief was driving a black car, possibly a Mazda, she said.
Garrison House owner Leigh Atherton said the thief drove a black vehicle, similar to an SUV.
She said the police told her it could have been a rental car.
She believes there were two people involved in the theft — one who broke in and one who drove the getaway car.
In 11 years of operating this has never happened, Atherton said.
Only $190 was stolen from her till and nothing else, but they “probably caused about $3,000 worth of damage,” she said.
Police dusted for fingerprints, said Marino, but the suspect wore gloves and was careful.
“It’s very upsetting for myself, my family, the 40-plus small businesses within our store, and also for the small business community as a whole,” Marino said in a social media post.