COLLINSVILLE, IL (KTVI)-- Walmart officials have alerted workers about a thief who's targeted area stores in Illinois the past 2-3 months.
He's using heavy duty tools to pry and cut his way into the stores' cash rooms, police say.
Investigators may be closing in on him.
Sources tell Fox2 police had developed strong leads on who the suspect is, getting a lot of help from Walmart officials and the stores' surveillance cameras.
Company officials keep churning out surveillance photos. They show clean shots of the suspect`s face.
The same man is behind thefts or attempted thefts at four stores in Collinsville, Belleville, O`Fallon, IL, and Litchfield; all while the stores are open, with little concern about the workers and customers there, police say.
"It`s kind of unheard of to do that. You`re basically doing a burglary in front of people," said Major Tom Coppotelli, of the Collinsville Police Department.
Customers are alarmed. Jamie and Adam Evans of Hillsboro are doing a lot of shopping for their new baby girl.
"I`d do anything to protect my daughter. Hearing stories like that, it`s just a shame people have to be scared to even come to Walmart to get groceries," said Adam Evans.
"Who`s to say the next time they won`t have a gun and decide to hold the whole place up and steal money?" worried customer Jamie Evans.
Litchfield Police confirmed the suspect stole about $5000 from the store there, using a crowbar to pry open a door and get to the money; striking overnight. As in Collinsville Monday, where the suspect crawled above the ceiling and tried to cut through drywall to drop into the cash room, but fled after a worker spotted that saw coming through the ceiling, police say.
The suspect seems very familiar with the stores, suggesting he may be a current of former worker.
"We are looking into it, the investigation internally, as well as working with police. I wouldn`t want to speculate if this is a former associate or a customer," said Walmart spokeswoman, Kayla Whaling. "Our field team has been working to alert stores in the area and letting them know if they do see this person to notify local police."
The suspect has never displayed a weapon such as a firearm, but he has had a drywall saw and a crowbar in his possession during at least two of the incidents, both of which can be used as weapons, police say.
If you know who he is or have any information on his whereabouts, call CrimeStoppers at 866-371-TIPS. You may get up to a $1,000 reward and you do not have to leave your name.
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