CEDAR HILL, MO (KTVI)– A series of six business burglaries in Jefferson County may have all been committed by a man wearing a familiar mask, and may have been foiled by the smell of something he left behind.
“It was very creepy watching him walk through the store,” said Laura Drummond, owner of Sorelli`s restaurant on Highway BB in Cedar Hill, which was hit along with two neighboring businesses early Wednesday morning.
A surveillance camera at the restaurant caught video of the suspect at about 6:00 A.M. He appeared to be wearing a hoodie and mask similar to the one in the ‘Scream’ movies.
The video also shows the burglar tearing a change machine off the wall. It is unknown how much money was inside but it had been two weeks since it was last emptied. The thief also broke into safe that was empty and a cash box which had held $55 in rolled coins.
Next door a few minutes later, the Hair Carpenters salon was hit. The burglar took $20 from the cash register and then broke into the neighboring American Family Insurance office, where he got nothing.
All three businesses share a common back hallway. The exterior door had been forced open.
“They fingerprinted my cash box, my back door. Nothing. So they knew what they were doing,” said hair salon owner Jeannie Moore.
The string of burglaries started early Sunday morning when someone broke into the Cedar Hill Health Mart in the same shopping center as those other businesses, but nothing was taken.
A few minutes later at an ice cream stand up the street, the thief broke in and store $20.
Then on Tuesday, someone tried but failed to break into an ATM at a nearby Eagle Bank.
But at one of the six locations, investigators found something they think the thief left something behind, and that led to an arrest.
“We have a bloodhound named Melody and she was able to retrieve scent from an item left just outside one of the businesses and tracked to an apartment,” said Jefferson County Sheriff`s Deputy , Capt. Ron Arnhart.
At that apartment, deputies arrested a man and brought him to the Jefferson County jail. And that arrest led deputies to arrest another man Wednesday afternoon.
As of Thursday evening, neither man had been charged, but business owners are relieved at least someone is in custody.
“We have never had this before and we are hoping we can put it to rest,” said Moore. “Very disturbing.”