Rash of Commercial Burglaries Continues, Two More Victims

RENO, NV - Carlos Juarez got some bad news when he opened his Antojitos Mexican Restaurant at Kietzke and Moana Lane Monday morning.

It was a broken window and evidence he was the latest victim of a crime spree stretching back to March, the last of at least 44 victims in Reno, several more in Sparks.

If you're the owner of a small business, trying to make it in a difficult economy this is one surprise you don't need.

"You come in the morning. It's Monday and you're expecting to start another week and you see this and a tough economy and its hard. It hits you hard," says Juarez.

Just two doors away, Paul Doege, the owner of Recycled Records, got the same news.

The M-O is by now familiar. A door or a window smashed with a big rock, the thieves make a quick run for the register, grab whatever cash they can and run.

They've been caught on security cameras, but the video and stills haven't given investigators much to work with. The thieves are well covered, wearing hoodies, gloves and face coverings.

It's believed they show two young men, one white, one black. Beyond that there's no definitive descriptions.

And they move fast. The video taken at Antojitos shows two thieves squeezing through the broken glass. They're in the store at 2:23 and out a minute later.

In some cases the losses are confined to damages. Insurance won't cover the cost of Juarez' window.
Others take an even bigger hit.

"They took over a thousand dollars," says Doege, "not to mention fixing a door and all the other stuff you have to mess around with."

The loss hits Doege at a vulnerable time. His resources are stretched as he's about to open at another location.

It's bad timing for Juarez too. The Moana Lane widening displaced Juarez' restaurant and he's trying to reestablish his business at a new, less visible location.

A hit like this is not an entry on a corporate spread sheet. It's personal.

"Maybe he works for one of the big box stores, you know, but what are you going to do. Something like this comes along and you just have to deal with it."

But "It's hard," adds Juarez. "I really hope they catch these guys.

Secret Witness has posted a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those responsible.

Their number is 322-4900. Callers may remain anonymous while collecting cash rewards.

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