Police searching for possible serial burglar on west side of Indianapolis

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) says a bold break-in on the city’s west side could be the work of a serial burglar who’s been targeting Family Dollar stores.

IMPD responded to the Family Dollar store Saturday morning in the 5200 block of West Washington Street after a store manager arrived to find several aisles ransacked and a back door standing open.  Officers observed that the suspect had pried open a back door to a storage room and then smashed through a concrete brick wall to gain access to the store.

“To break and gain entry through a wall, that’s a very determined criminal,” said IMPD Sgt. Christopher Wilburn.

The burglar had also cut wires to the alarm system and several other electrical boxes in the store.  A police report indicates surveillance video inside the store shows the male suspect grabbing cartons of cigarettes and other items and putting them into plastic trash bins in order to carry the stolen goods out of the store.  The video showed the male was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt with the hood up and tied tightly around his face and gray gloves, the police report said.

According to IMPD, the alarm company had called a store manager about a motion alarm at the store at 3:40 a.m. Saturday, but the manager told the security company to disregard the alarm, believing it to be false.

Several shoppers arrived Monday to find a "store closed" sign posted on the door.  

According to a detective on the case, Family Dollar management says similar burglaries have been happening at several of their stores in recent months.  The Family Dollar store located in the 2500 block of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street has had similar burglaries nine times since last May, the detective said.

“This individual apparently has a scheme and has a targeted area that he likes to frequent,” Wilburn said.  “And he utilizes the same method each time.”

In August 2015, security video at the Family Dollar store on MLK showed a suspect filling a trash bin with cartons of cigarettes after forcing his way in through a side door.  Police say it’s possible the same person could be responsible for Saturday morning’s burglary, but they can’t be sure at this time.

Despite encouragement from IMPD to release video from the Saturday morning burglary, Family Dollar has not agreed to make the footage public as of late Monday afternoon.

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