PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- A rash of burglaries has struck the Melrose District.

Most of these businesses hit were along or near the Seventh Avenue stretch in central Phoenix. Although not confirmed by police yet, business owners tell Arizona's Family that at least 12 businesses near the same area have been burglarized.

“You don’t get those phone calls except for bad news so your heart starts racing,” Bill Sandweg said.

Sandweg says he was jolted out of bed in the wee hours of the morning on Friday by some bad news.

“There was glass on the floor, looks like the cash drawer was open and they didn’t know where the glass was coming from. They called 911 and I came down and Phoenix police came down,” Sandweg said.

His business, Copper Star Coffee near Seventh Avenue and Indian School, was burglarized Friday morning.

The thief busted out the front window and crawled through the coffee shop to get to the cash register and the refrigerator. Sandweg says the thief didn’t make out with much.

“Made off with about $18 to $20 worth of spare change and a little bit of orange juice. I’m more so glad that nobody was hurt; my employees weren’t here and that they didn’t walk in on it either,” said Sandweg.

Copper Star isn’t the only business to have been burglarized. Several other small businesses around the Phoenix Melrose District tell us they have also been targeted and shared their surveillance videos.

“They did leave their hammer so they might be getting some fingerprints from that. I just hope they catch him,” said Ivy Green, the owner of Renaissance Tattoo, which also was broken into.

Scooter's Coffee Shop was broken into early Sunday morning.

Manager Ashley Gass said that when the thief couldn't find any money in the cash drawers, he dragged away their giant 200-plus pound safe.

Gass said their burglary sounded a lot like the others.

"Same picture we have circulating among all the business owners, and it's the same guy from all the pictures we see," said Gass. "Definitely similar. He's going through the register drawers, which a lot of businesses don't keep money in overnight, but that's what he's been going for."

From the video footage, the businesses have shared with Arizona’s Family and with each other, the owners believe it is the same thief. Sandweg says he thinks there may be a reason these smaller businesses may have been targeted.

“I’m certain they’re not knocking on Starbucks’ door because they probably already surmised that Starbucks keeps their money locked up, but we do too.”

The owners say they are just glad no one has been hurt. They say this is a great area and hopes this thief is caught soon.

Phoenix police haven’t released any details yet, but the owners tell us, they’ve filed police reports and Phoenix police are investigating.

 


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