A man arrested minutes after someone allegedly threw a brick through the window of a Columbia Heights carryout and carted off the cash register quickly confessed to detectives, according to a court affidavit.
But the 45-year-old suspect wasn’t done talking, according to police, who said he told them about breaking into other businesses in Northwest Washington. He didn’t know their addresses or names, police said, so they put him in a car and drove him around Mount Pleasant and Columbia Heights.
By the end of the tour on Friday, D.C. police said they had been led to 10 other small businesses that had been burglarized in a similar manner since Nov. 10 — broken windows and stolen cash registers or drawers. A coffeehouse. A dry cleaner. A corner store. A restaurant.
Police have charged Jerry Kibler Jr. of Northwest Washington with 11 counts of burglary in connection with alleged crimes that targeted shops mostly along 13th and 14th streets. He was ordered detained until a preliminary hearing Dec. 23. Tom Engle, the suspect’s attorney, declined to comment Monday.
Kibler, a two-time convicted felon, served two years in prison, starting in 2007, for burglary and served six months in 2014 for selling drugs. Court documents say he has been treated for drug addiction.
D.C. police arrested Kibler on Friday night, just minutes after the El Amigo carryout restaurant in the 3600 block of 14th Street NW in Columbia Heights was burglarized, authorities said. Police said that a brick was thrown through a window and that a person whose description seemed to match Kibler was seen on surveillance video rummaging through drawers and cabinets and fleeing with the cash register.
Police said an officer spotted Kibler on a nearby street dressed in the same clothes seen on the store video: a large, gray wool winter coat and a blue-and-white checkered Arab dishdasha, similar to a robe.
“Defendant Kibler stated that he had committed several burglaries . . . over the last few weeks,” according to the police arrest affidavit. During the ride around the area, police said in the court document, “Kibler identified 10 separate locations that he had burglarized in the last several months,” and he included information about entry and items taken that matched police reports.
One location was the Uptown Mart in the 2700 block of 14th Street NW. Bruck Grima, an employee, said in an interview that he arrived for work on the morning of Nov. 30 and found a broken side window. Cash had been taken from the register, along with cigarettes, an Amazon Kindle and some cellphones. “I think he knew we had a camera,” Grima said. “He didn’t stay that long.”
About a week later, on Dec. 8, Mike Visser, who owns a coffeehouse in Mount Pleasant, was awakened about 2 a.m. by a call from his alarm company, he said in an interview. He thought the overnight bagel delivery guy had bungled the code, but police went to his shop, Flying Fish Coffee and Tea on Mount Pleasant Street, and found a broken windowpane.
Visser said the person who broke in had used a loose sidewalk brick to shatter the window. A cash drawer with $100 was taken. Visser said the man didn’t take a computer, two iPods and an iPad, which was used to track sales. “It was a relief, because all things considered, it could’ve been so much worse,” Visser said.
Visser stayed the night in the coffeehouse, went to Home Depot to buy plywood to cover the broken window and then spent $600 to replace it. He said he didn’t have much hope that the culprit would be caught. He said police told him that the fingerprints left behind weren’t good enough to make a match.
Now that an arrest has been made, Visser said, “maybe this guy will get some help. I hope that he can put his life together.”