Crime wave on Jasper Avenue: Multiple businesses seemingly targeted by thief
EDMONTON -- Several businesses on Jasper Avenue have reported break-ins over the last few weeks, and the owners wonder if the crimes are connected. They've already identified a number of similarities between the crimes.
In all cases, locks and metal doors were breached. Surveillance cameras were torn off walls and alarms were unplugged.
But one other common theme has owners wondering if the same person is responsible for all of it, with images of the break-ins were still captured on all of their surveillance systems.
Sarah Fitzgerald has some of the most telling images. She is the owner of a new facial rejuvenation venture called Sheer Beauty Bar. It’s only been open for four months on the main podium of the Pearl Tower at 119 Street and Jasper Avenue.
Because it’s so new, there’s a lock box outside her front door for construction workers doing finishing work. She thinks someone was watching that box and knew there was a key inside.
"He had to have known the lock box is there there was snow covering it and everything at the time," said Fitzgerald.
Her cameras show a person gaining entry to the front door at night in late January. And even though her equipment is worth thousands of dollars, she suspects the intruder was after cash and left with nothing.
"Looked around, walked to the back, he opened the back door, he has a flashlight. He went into a storage area, then he went into the backroom where he disabled the cameras," she added.
Fast forward to this past weekend when someone broke into a metal back door behind two businesses further east down Jasper Avenue on 112 Street. Once inside, two stores are linked by an inner hallway. A man can be seen reaching for a surveillance camera just before the system shuts down.
The man in the image looks remarkably similar to the person in Fitzgerald's beauty bar weeks earlier.
Evidence of a hole cut through drywall in the weekend breach shows how someone gained latenight entry into frozen fruit drink venture called Smoothie Basics. That’s where the owner says her cash register was broken, another camera was pulled down and money went missing. She thinks someone knew the layout of her store.
"It was done pretty smart, so it couldn't be someone new. He may have come here as a customer and just invaded our whole premises before making a move," said Pam Moseti.
Her neighbour, a gluten-free pizza shop called Die Pie was yet another victim, also over the weekend. Company co-founder Neil Royale says a thousand dollars in cash is missing.
"He probably came through the kitchen I'm thinking, because there's motion sensors. Maybe thats how he evaded it," said Royale.
Further down Japer Avenue, Kunitz Shoes, which has been in business for eight years on the north side of 108 Street said someone adept at using break-in tools came through their front door in February. Their security cameras also show an individual, who they believe to be the same person who targetted the other businesses, rummaging through drawers and cupboards behind the checkout booth.
A spokesperson for the Edmonton Police Service tells CTV News Edmonton that they are investigating several break and enter occurrences in a and around Jasper Avenue. Police say it is undetermined at this time if they’re related.