Add four more businesses to list of recent commercial burglaries

Eleven businesses have been hit within a two-month period
News Editor
   The string of commercial burglaries to hit Madras businesses grew by four recently, as the unknown suspect or suspects believed linked to the crimes struck again last week.
   On Nov. 24, employees of Gloria's Espresso off Highway 97 near Safeway arrived at work in the morning to find one of their windows shattered but no items stolen.
   The recent burglaries fit the pattern that has been seen at other recent commercial break-ins -- if the suspect doesn't find money, the intruder leaves without taking any items.
   But this time, police may have obtained a clue to the identity of the perpetrator who could be linked to the 11 commercial burglaries that have taken place during the last two months.
   Gloria Sauceda, the espresso shop's owner, found blood below the broken window that has been analyzed by a crime lab.
   "We think all these burglaries are related to the others, yes," Madras Police Department Capt. Tom Adams said. With the blood sample, Adams believes, the suspect involved in most of the commercial burglaries could be discovered shortly.
   "We have leads," said Adams, who stopped short of offering any more details.
   The perpetrator in the string of burglaries also hit three other businesses last week: Space Age Fuel, Burger Works and Flaherty's 99 Cent Store.
   The suspect stole an estimated $800 from Space Age Fuel on the same night as the Gloria's Espresso break-in, an employee there said. Then, three days later on Nov. 27, $184 in cash was stolen from Burger works after a metal door in the rear of the restaurant was cut through. That same night, a class door was shattered and two metal gates were sliced through at the 99 Cent Store, but the suspect didn't find any cash or lift any significant items except for a couple lighters, said Veda, the store's manager. She could not give out her last name due to company policy.
   Police have urged local businesses to invest in alarms and security cameras. They have also pressed businesses to keep cash out of their stores overnight.
   Wayne Fording, president of the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, characterized the break-ins as "alarming."
   "But I don't know if it's preventable or not," Fording added. "You can keep things well lit as a deterrent. And most businesses should make deposits. That keeps employees honest, also."
   The rash of burglaries began on Sept. 20 when approximately $400 was stolen from the Pennzoil 10-Minute Oil Center. In the following 26 days six more businesses were hit that included the Black Bear Diner, Juniper Custom Framing, Madras Coffee Station, Mike and JAC's Gas, Golden City Restaurant and Great Earth Natural Foods.