Burglar repeatedly targeting popular south St. Louis restaurants and businesses

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Repeated break-ins are plaguing a popular section of south St. Louis, home to favorite shops and restaurants like Trattoria Marcella, LaRusso’s, Biggies, and Pietro’s. The victims believe the same suspect has hit at least three times in the same block of Watson Road since July 15th. The burglar crawled through the rooftop airconditioning vents to get into Cecil Whitakers Pizza. He even used a cutting torch at a laundromat next door.

Surveillance video shows the suspect trying to unlock the change machine at the laundromat early on Saturday, July 20th. He found the keys in the office of dry cleaners next door. The video also shows him trying to break into change boxes on the large driers, repeatedly running throughout the building, looking for money to steal. He tore out walls and stole the cash register from the dry cleaners.

The suspect has been focused on stealing cash, victims said. Early Monday morning, a suspect was back at the laundromat, apparently using a torch to cut into the change machine this time but again failing to get any money from it.

“I was shocked,” said Rose Chianta, whose family has owned the building leased to the dry cleaners and laundromat for more than 40 years. “It was a little disturbing and I thought this really took quite a while, probably, this is a great neighborhood. Our family has been part of this neighborhood for decades. We grew up here. We’re very committed to the neighborhood and safety. We just want local business owners to feel safe, stay in the neighborhood, and the customers to feel safe.”

There have been additional crimes, police said. St. Louis Police have added extra patrols in the area and a special “Burglary Squad is investigating.

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