GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Gainesville police are searching for a burglar after 17 businesses in office complex buildings were broken into Monday night.
Police said they believe the burglaries are all the work of one man, and it appears he might have been traveling from one break-in to the next by bicycle. They believe broke into all 17 businesses in less than nine hours, and they're hoping to catch him before he strikes again.
"We're hoping that hitting 17 places that there's 17 chances of him leaving some sort of evidence, like video or forensics," Gainesville Police Department spokesman Ben Tobias said. "We're putting a lot of our resources into making sure we find him."
Most of the burglaries took place in the areas of 4800 NW 8th Ave., 5000 W. Newberry Road, the 500 block of NW 60th Street and 4700 NW 53rd Ave.
According to police, the businesses targeted were:
- Bosshardt Realty at 5532 NW 43rd St.: Side door, drawers and cabinets pried open.
- Physician's Office at 4611 NW 53rd Ave.: Attempt to pry front door, no entry made.
- Real Estate Attorney at 4703 NW 53rd Ave. Suite A1: Front door pried open.
- Election Survey Office at 4703 NW 53rd Ave. Suite A4: Front door pried open, but nothing reported missing.
- Therapist Office at 4703 NW 53rd Ave. Suite B2: Front door pried open.
- Dr. Kim Davidson at 4707 NW 53rd Ave. Suite B: Side door pried open, then pried front door in foyer.
- Carrillo & Carrillo Law Firm at 4707 NW 53rd Ave. Suite A: Side door pried open, offices rummaged through and safe pried open, but nothing reported missing.
- Chiropractor's Office at 4101 NW 37th Pl. Suite B: Window pried open.
- Realtor's Office at 2622 NW 43rd St. Suite A: Front door pried open, offices rummaged through, but nothing reported missing.
- Arroyo & Talbert Law Office at 4510 NW 6th Pl. First floor: Attempt to pry side window, no entry made.
- Nail Salon, Hair Salon and Financial Broker at 5200 Newberry Road Suite E1, E5 & E8: Rear window A/C vent pushed out. Offices rummaged through, but nothing reported missing.
- Tanning Salon at 618 NW 60th St. Suite I: Front door pried open.
- Martial Arts Academy at 500 NW 60th St. Suite B: Front door pried open.
- Bouncing Big at 490 NW 60th St. Suite 4: Front door pried open.
- Salon and Dermatology Center at 4965 NW 8th Ave. Suite D and E: Front door pried open, offices rummaged through, no loss reported.
- Hair Salon at 6110 NW 1st Pl.: Front door pried open, no loss reported.
An undisclosed amount of cash was taken from some of the targets. There was no indication that patient or client information was targeted, nor any other objects or information, police said.
The owner of the The Fringe nail salon on Newberry Street said the burglary was a shock.
"We have never had problems like this here before," Parish Torres said.
The burglar broke through a window at the salon, and from there was able to get through a door leading to another business in the complex.
Bouncing Big had surveillance video, which shows a white man wearing a baseball cap, a face covering, a dark T-shirt with "100%" across the front, light-colored shorts, dark socks, light-colored shoes and also wearing a backpack. The man is also seen wearing gloves.
Police are hoping the distinct design on the man's T-shirt will help identify him.
"We're processing each of these scenes. There's 17 different scenes, so that's 17 opportunities for forensic evidence to be left behind -- fingerprint evidence, DNA evidence, just anything that would tie someone back to this," Tobias said.
The hair salon on NW 6th Place was the last one hit, and an audible alarm sounded just before 6 a.m. Tuesday.
An owner of a nearby business that was not burglarized said he was upset to hear about the break-ins.
"It hit me kind of hard," said Roy Clay, owner of So Sharp Cutz and Stylez. "We work hard for our money, and to have something you work so hard for taken away from you in a matter of a night."
Some business owners said they're taking precautions, like installing alarm systems, making sure windows and doors are locked and making sure outdoor areas are lit at night. Police are also increasing patrols in the areas that were targeted.
Anyone with information about the burglaries is urged to call GPD's Special Operations Unit at 352-393-7600. Tipsters can also anonymously text information by sending keyword GPDFL plus the tip to 274637 (CRIMES).