'Cashbox Bandit' preys on multiple businesses

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

SURPRISE, Ariz. - A string of business burglaries is under investigation in the northwest Valley. Police believe surveillance video of the crook in action will help lead to his arrest. Business owners say it's a personal attack on something they've built with their own hands.

Align Chiropractic and Massage is one of nearly a dozen businesses hit over the last two weeks. Fortunately, police say they had a surveillance systems that captured the suspect's every move. The suspected cash-box bandit is shown on video with his face covered. The video shows him scurry behind the counter of the office and rifle through drawers, before he takes off with money in hand.

"It's extremely upsetting, I mean you feel violated; somebody comes into an office that you built with your blood sweat and tears," said Dr. Jason Hawkins. "We had to deal with patients in our office having to see all the destruction and all the commotion," he said.

Surprise police say the suspect is believed to be driving an older model Ford or Chevy pickup truck.

He has either smashed glass or figured out a way to break locks at businesses in the area of Reems and West Bell Road over the last two weeks. Police say he was able to get away with petty cash because office drawers weren't locked.

"These just offer criminals a crime of opportunity and it's really a risk versus reward at that point that it's worth getting caught," said Sgt. Norman Owens with the Surprise Police Department.

Dr. Hawkins says, ironically, police notified him of the criminal activity the day before his office was hit. "It was kind of shocking at first because we didn't really believe it. It was upsetting. And to find he's done this multiple times, eventually we're just waiting for him to get caught," he said.

Anyone with information about the crimes or the suspect is asked to call Surprise Police Detective Kristy Coats at 623-222-4316, Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS (480-948-6377), or 480-TESTIGO (480-837-8446) and reference incident No. 150203643.