Police Warn of Store Burglaries

By Fredrick Kunkle
Washington Post staff writer
Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A string of overnight smash-and-grab burglaries, including seven in less than an hour Friday, has prompted Fairfax County police to alert shopkeepers in several strip malls and warn them against leaving money in their tills.

The burglaries and attempted burglaries appear to be linked to 16 others in the Annandale and Springfield areas since March 31, police said yesterday. Most occurred from July to September.

After the series of burglaries Friday, police called for heightened attention among business owners in the 6600 block of Little River Turnpike; the Bradlick Shopping Center at Braddock and Backlick roads; the 4400 block of John Marr Drive; and the 7000 block of Commerce Street behind Springfield Plaza.

Police were vague on details about the break-ins and their locations and declined to identify the businesses, some of which had been hit more than once.

Seven break-ins and an attempted burglary occurred at four dry cleaners, two flower shops and two nail salons between 2:27 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. Friday. An unknown amount of money was taken, said Officer Camille Neville.

Red Parker, a technician at Pro Computers on Little River Turnpike, said police visited area businesses after a nail salon was burglarized nearby last week and told them about a man with a mask breaking into several establishments along the corridor.

"It's like he's getting on the 401 bus," Parker said. He said his business was not affected because it has bars on the windows.

Neville said a fast-moving thief or thieves has been smashing the windows or doors of small businesses and cleaning out the tills. She said police were urging business owners to install alarms or surveillance cameras or take other preventive measures.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS or Fairfax County police at 703-691-2131.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company