November 2, 2010

String of Burglaries Hits C-Town Eateries

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Burglars stole cash and a laptop during a series of Collegetown robberies early Friday morning, the Ithaca Police Department said in a statement, although the exact value of the stolen property was not released.Sangam Indian Cuisine, on Eddy Street, and The Connection and the Chapter House, both on Stewart Ave, all reported that cash had been taken from registers. The buildings showed no evidence of forced entry, according to the IPD, which asked anyone with information on the incidents to contact police.An IPD communications representative declined to comment further on the particulars of the investigation, as it is ongoing.In the meantime, some Collegetown businesses –– both those hit by the burglars and those that escaped the crime –– are seeking to bolster security measures to protect their stores and cash registers from thieves.Karmjit Benipal, owner of Sangam Indian Cuisine, said he plans to install surveillance cameras in his restaurant, a measure he never thought necessary before the burglars broke into his cash register and filing cabinet last weekend, taking what he estimated to be at least $3,000.Benipal said there was an attempted robbery at his restaurant last year, but before that he never had problems with break-ins. He expressed concern about declining safety in the neighborhood.“This is very unsafe,” he said. “In 20 years this had never happened before.”Kevin Sullivan, owner of The Connection, lost not only cash but also his laptop to the burglars. He said that he ordered “a pretty sophisticated camera system” within hours of discovering the break-in.“I’m definitely beefing up security,” he said, noting that cameras will enable any future perpetrators to be identified and held accountable.Sullivan, however, said he suspected that the culprits were youths, not professional thieves, and was thus not too worried about a crime spree in the area. He expressed hope that the police will locate the robbers and recover the stolen items.“I want my laptop back,” he said, noting that life without it has been very disorganized.Area establishments that were unscathed by the flurry of break-ins remained wary.Aaron Chandler, the front house manager for the Carriage House Cafe –– which sits opposite the Chapter House on the 300 block of Stewart Avenue and has been burglarized in the past –– said additional lighting as well as video cameras guard against potential perpetrators.“It’s really just a reminder of what can happen,” Chandler said. “It’s too bad, but it wasn’t violent, thank God.”

Original Author: Eliza LaJoie