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Police Increase Security After String Of Robberies In South Philadelphia

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – On Monday, police issued an alert about a string of south Philadelphia burglaries.

Police say six businesses have been hit since last month and some of the burglaries were caught on store surveillance cameras.

“They broke into the abandoned building next door and what they did was cut through the dry wall,” The manager at the Villa store on the 400 block of Oregon Avenue wished to remain anonymous as did the owner of a nearby deli on the 400 block of Wolf Street.

The deli owner explained, “They pried the back door open and they slid in underneath the door.”

Both businesses were equipped with surveillance cameras and both cameras were rolling when the suspects moved in.

“Once they cut through the dry wall, they went straight for the registers,” The Villa manager said.

The surveillance video at the Villa store shows two suspects, one of them handing the register over to his accomplice who remains on the other side of the wall throughout the burglary.

The store manager added, “They stole some merchandise that was hanging around but they didn’t get anything that was too time-consuming so they had to be people that do this a lot.”

The surveillance video at the deli also shows two suspects. The two suspects are seen in the video trying but failing to break open the ATM machine inside then moving onto the store register and getting away with some cash and cigarettes.

The deli owner said, “It’s disturbing. It’s your personal property. It’s very upsetting.”

Police now want to know if the same two suspects are responsible for burglarizing at least six businesses in south Philadelphia since January 9th:

• 1/9/2011 — 31 Oregon Avenue
• 1/12/2011 — 401 Wolf Street
• 1/20/2011 — 200 Oregon Avenue
• 1/27/2011 — 2715 S. Front Street
• 1/31/2011 — 424 Oregon Avenue
• 2/4/2011 — 701 S. 7th Street

Police say the suspects appear to break in when the stores are closed, keep their faces and hands covered and on three occasions, they hit stores with an abandoned property next door, as was the case in the Villa and the corner deli.

“I think it’s crazy,” Kevin Kryszczak said.

Kryszczak lives across the street from the corner deli on Wolf Street. He remembers hearing something outside his window on the night of the burglary but didn’t call the police.

Kryszczak explained, “I looked out the window and didn’t see nothing and that’s all I was concerned about.”

Under normal circumstances, police say that reaction is completely understandable. But for the time being, police say they have stepped up patrols in the area and are asking residents to be vigilant, urging the public to be especially wary of any suspicious activity near business operating next to vacant properties.

Police are asking anyone with information to call 911 or contact Philadelphia Police Department’s South Detectives directly by dialing (215) 686-3013.

Watch the video…

Reported by Elizabeth Hur, CBS 3