Police investigate string of small business break-ins

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A string of burglaries has hit several St. Louis City businesses. 5 On Your Side is tracking cases from downtown St. Louis to the Central West End and Tower Grove South. The official count so far is six bars and restaurants, all targeted over the last month. But, according to some business owners, that number could be higher due to some of them not filing an official report yet.

Byron Smith said around 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, September 24, someone, or possibly several people, broke into his establishment – Eat Sandwiches – on Morganford in the Tower Grove South neighborhood.

"It makes you nervous,” Smith said of the burglary.

The suspect kicked in Smith’s basement door.

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“Well, I got up to the front door and I noticed the register was open, so I knew something was up at that time,” he said.

The security system was ripped off of the wall. Cash and Smith’s laptop were taken.

“Day to day, it’s hard to make ends meet with single businesses,” said Ted Kilgore, the owner of Planter's House on Mississippi Avenue, another one hit in the early morning hours. Kilgore’s alarm system was smashed to the ground.

"This is our only business and this is how we make our livelihood."

All six break-ins took place between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., and all six cases, small businesses were targeted.

Yapi Mediterranean Subs and Sandwiches on South Kingshighway posted pictures to its Facebook last week after vandals broke through its glass window. Surrounding surveillance cameras captured video of at least one of the suspects involved.

“I think the one thing that upset me the most, the tips that I keep for my employees, to help them augment their salary those are gone now, and [they] they rely on them,” reflected Smith.

Other businesses that were targeted included Tick Tock Tavern, Gustine Market, 4 Hands and Urban Chestnut.

Police said it is looking into possible connections between the six known robberies. No suspects have yet been identified.