Police are investigating a string of burglaries that resulted in a lot of broken windows but very little stolen merchandise.
The blundering thieves struck seven businesses, all within two miles of each other, in the wee hours of Sunday and Monday mornings, said Lodi Police Sgt. David Chinn.
Their take: Little more than a few used cell phones and a platter of stale pastries.
During six of the burglaries, the suspects broke in by smashing the front door.
Sammy Idris, manager of Metro PCS in the 1400 block of East Kettleman Lane, learned thieves picked his store when he arrived for work Monday morning. Shards of glass from a smashed front door were scattered throughout the shop, along with just a few cell phone cases.
Idris hadn’t finished taking inventory but said there didn’t appear to be any cell phones stolen.
“I just need to get someone out here to fix this door,” Idris said.
Only a couple hundred feet away from Metro PCS, Jeffrey Dos Reis learned his business, Dos Reis Logo Wear, had also been victimized early Monday morning.
Suspects pried open the back door, but police told Dos Reis they likely mistook his business for a neighboring electronics store, Dos Reis said.
With the alarm blaring and police on their way, thieves hastily grabbed two old cell phones from a back office, but kindly left a computer, cash register and a clear envelope containing $250 left on a desk, Dos Reis said.
The other burglarized stores were lucky, as well.
In most cases, thieves targeted the cash registers but found nothing.
Police discovered one trend from the burglaries. Three of the stores targeted were hair salons.
Lodi Police spent Monday morning collecting surveillance video from the stores involved with hopes of finding some clue that would lead to a suspect. In the meantime, they’re taking several measures to prevent any more burglaries in the area, which includes increasing patrol, Chinn said.
Knowing stores have been targeted for two consecutive nights, some owners are taking steps to protect themselves.
Dos Reis said he’s planning to purchase security cameras, which he’s never considered in his 16 years as a store owner in the 1400 block of South Ham Lane.
“This is a shame because this area has been so nice for so long,” he said.
Dos Reis, like other store owners in Lodi, only worried about the mess left from some sophomoric thieves rather than missing merchandise.
But when he sat in the back of his store for breakfast and coffee Monday morning, Dos Reis discovered something else had been stolen.
“My plate of pastries were gone,” he said. “They must have been hungry.”
Contact reporter Kristopher Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.