Police investigate south city business break-ins

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ST. LOUIS – South St. Louis business owners believe the same man has now broken into at least nine shops in in the past month.

Yapi’s Mediterranean Subs and Sandwiches at Kingshighway and Neosho was hit around 2:45 a.m. Wednesday.

Owner Armin Grozdanic was heartbroken about having to put a sign on the door telling the customers he was closed for the day to repair the damage. He was also hopeful because his surveillance cameras got such good video of the suspect.

The video shows a white man wearing an UMSL shirt, with his head and face covered, working to pry a front window for about eight minutes before eventually giving up and breaking it out with a brick. After clearing away the glass, the video shows him grabbing the crash register and leaving.

After checking with other business owners in the area, Grozdanic came up with at least nine break-ins since August 11 within a close to half-mile radius in the Kingshighway-Hampton business corridors.

It was the same M.O. and same suspect description every time, with very little money being stolen, he said.

The true damage was measured by more than just dollars.

“I’m afraid of customers being afraid of coming. You have to think about the loss of business today. If I put everything together, I’m looking at a loss between $1,200 and $1,500 as far as the customers today and the window I have to repair,” Grozdanic said. “What he got from me was probably $6 in change. A lot of businesses that people own, that’s how they live, how they feed their kids, their families, and everything else. Especially with everything else that’s going on nowadays, it’s really tough to have those losses.”

Police described the suspect as thin, 5’7” to 5’10” tall. He was wearing shorts with dark Chuck Taylor style sneakers, possibly with tattoos on his left forearm.

If you have any information, call St. Louis police.