Accused serial thief faces more charges

Police: John Kiedrowski, 51, arrested after short, high-speed chase

A serial smash-and-grab burglary suspect is facing even more charges.

Police investigating more than 40 smash-and-grabs at Jacksonville Beach businesses said John Kiedrowski, who was arrested earlier this month after a short, high-speed chase, may be responsible for many of the crimes.

News4Jax obtained 47 pages of police reports on burglaries, all of which link back to one man. Kiedrowski, 51, faces 26 criminal charges from break-ins. 

According to police, surveillance video shows Kiedrowski smashing through a local business with a sledge hammer last month. 

RELATED: Accused jewelry thief suspected in up to 40 burglaries

"He came through here, the alarm goes off and, I guess, he starts to get crazy -- ran over here to the door, yanked it, noticed it was locked so he thought, 'Hey, I'm sure something is good in there.' And opened it up, and sure enough, $6 was in there just for him and his family," Ryan Rippel, president and owner of Signs Now, said while laughing. 

Rippel said that while he only got $6 from the business on St. Johns Bluff Road, it cost him about $1,000 to replace the glass.

"It really hurts us as a business owner versus what he came in and got," Rippel said.

Police said Kiedrowski didn't stop there, but then went next door and broke into the Park East Salon before smashing into The Art Garage.

"He just grabbed everything that he could have that looked really pretty," said Carey Reeves, owner of Park East Salon. 

The eco-friendly hair salon’s owner said the thief made off with a couple hundred dollars worth of jewelry, but the damage to the small business was much worse.

"(I'm) really scared because I worked really hard to get this business up and running and then for somebody just to come in late night..." Reeves said. 

Kiedrowski's been charged with 10 burglaries in Jacksonville so far, including smash-and-grabs at jewelers, a bank and restaurants. 

But theres are dozens more, including a string of restaurants in Neptune Beach and Jacksonville Beach, that he could get linked to. 

In the early hours of March 2, police said, officers were in pursuit of Kiedrowski when he slammed his pickup truck into a power pole near Atlantic Boulevard and Interstate 295, got out and tried to run, but was brought down by a K-9.

RELATED: Bystander helps police capture suspected thief after chase, crash

"Don't do it because sooner or later you're going to get caught," Reeves said. 

Kiedrowski was hospitalized after the crash that led to his capture. He was later booked into the Duval County Jail, where he's being held on more than $771,000 bond.

"We feel safer. Yes, we do," Rippel said. 

There are a number of burglaries from Jacksonville Beach that Kiedrowski is suspected of -- police there have filed charges on three of them, but it's unclear about the others. 

The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office said it is working several cases in which Kiedrowski is listed.

Kiedrowski was convicted of burglary in 2007 and sentenced to 10 years in prison -- his fifth prison sentence. He was released from prison last August.

He’s due back in court Thursday. 

About the Author:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.