Surveillance video captured a man smashing into businesses in a series of destructive burglaries in Woodland Hills.
Early Friday morning, at least three shops were burglarized after a suspect used a large rock to smash his way in.
The break-ins took place around 2 a.m. at a strip mall along Ventura Boulevard.
Security cameras captured the hooded suspect pacing outside the shop windows and peering in. He then grabs a large rock and smashes it through the glass door of Pizza Polo, a restaurant serving Italian and Persian food.
Once inside, the suspect headed straight to the register behind the front counter and quickly grabbed handfuls of cash.
Pizza Polo owner, Mohsen Javadi, said the thief also managed to escape with a stolen cell phone.
Javadi said he had been operating his restaurant at the Woodland Hills location for about two years without any problems before this incident.
He said he believes the criminal justice system in Southern California needs to be tougher on criminals who target small businesses.
“I think it’s not tough enough right now,” he said. “I think that it should be more tough.”
Following the theft, Javadi said he’ll consider boosting security measures including the installation of an alarm system.
Later on, the same suspect used the large rock to shatter the glass doors of two other neighboring businesses including a cake shop called The Cake House and a café called The Baker.
Inside The Baker, the suspect is seen quickly emptying the cash register before walking away.
“It makes me feel sad because we’ve been working really hard to get the restaurant going after Covid,” said Jackie Rumteen, from The Baker. “It makes me sad that would happen.”
The Woodland Hills burglaries are just the latest in a wave of similar break-ins in the area. Earlier this week, four businesses in Northridge were targeted in smash-and-grab thefts where multiple suspects were caught on camera ransacking the shops.
Although the victims were glad nobody was hurt, they’re hoping the suspect will be caught soon before he strikes another business again.
Anyone with information on the thefts is asked to call the Los Angeles Police Department at 1-877-275-5273.
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