Thief hits five Benicia businesses overnight, makes off with thousands of dollars

Business owners say they feel violated after a thief broke into five Benicia businesses and made off with thousands of dollars in cash just after midnight Wednesday. 

Police are still searching for the suspect. They say one man broke into the downtown businesses. He spent an hour looking for cash.

"He must have pushed, broked the window and tried to get in," says Cindy Robertson, owner of Shear Artistry. 

It's one of the businesses that were burglarized during the one-hour span between Midnight and 1 a.m. 

All of the businesses burglarized are located in the historic Tannery Building on 1st Street.

"We've already been through enough. The salon has only been open for 6 months all year in 2020 due to the pandemic. It's really heartbreaking," says Robertson. 

Her salon was ransacked. She says she didn't have money on the premises so the burglar left with nothing.

But he did steal cash at Bella Siena, a restaurant in the same building.

"This is our cash register," says Liz Kurt, the owner as she showed KTVU the damaged register.

She says it appears the thief used a crow bar to pry open the register.

Kurt says he also broke into a locked office and stole a few thousand dollars in tips that belonged to the servers.   

"We kind of feel safe and secure in our little Benicia town. It's hard to imagine that it happens here," says Kurt.

It appears the thief injured himself. He left behind blood stains.

"They were bleeding all over the place so we have their DNA," says Kurt.

"The dead bolt is busted and the whole frame is broken," says Dennis Cullens, owner of Cullens Pub 

The same thief broke into Cullens' Pub and also hurt himself there.

"Opened up my Band-Aid kit and put on Band-Aid. But we got it on camera," says Cullens.   

The merchants shared with KTVU images of the thief from surveillance cameras.

Police describe him as being medium height with a medium build. He wore camouflage pants.

"I'm confident with the information that we have. We can't quite share all of it but we're gonna bring this person to justice," says Lt. Edward Criado with Benicia Police. 

There is surveillance video of the thief leaving the area carrying a backpack. 

"I feel violated. It's very upsetting that somebody thinks its okay to come in here and destroy people's property especially when we work so hard to stay open," says Robertson.  

Merchants say they lost business while getting the damage repaired and cleaning up.

They say they're shocked by what happened since Benicia is normally safe and want the suspect caught.