Thief targets 4 businesses in Bern shopping center

Thieves target shopping center

BERN TWP., Pa. - Store owners at a shopping center in Bern Township are on edge after thieves broke into their shops overnight.

"It was a little scary this morning when you pull up to your business and the lights are on. We know no one is supposed to be in here. Why are our lights on? So, we already knew before we came in the door that something is not right," said Dorothy Boyle, owner, Edible Arrangements.

Boyle's shop in the West Ridge Shopping Center in Bern Township was one of four businesses burglarized overnight.  

"They ripped our safe open with a crowbar and just threw stuff everywhere," said Boyle.

A burglar broke in through the back doors of Edible Arrangements, Happy Garden, JUD Firestone Plumbing and Empire Surplus Home Center, said police, who noted that the burglar damaged all four businesses and successfully walked away with cash from two.

"It is not in the nature of the community, but obviously it happens often enough that we need to vigorously investigate it," said Chief Wesley Waugh, Bern Twp. Police Dept.

Boyle said she thinks the crook used a crowbar to break in, the same weapon police believe was used on March 4 when an another Edible Arrangements and Chinese restaurant were burglarized in Sinking Spring.  

"We are obviously continuing to investigate and keep in contact with a number of other agencies," said Waugh.

Between the money taken and the damage, Edible Arrangements is in the hole for $1,000, which Boyle said is a lot for a small business like hers, but she said it is about more than the money. The burglary left her and her staff feeling violated.

"You want to be able to feel safe coming into your own business and feel like you can come in and no one is going to be at your back door, so it is a little scary," said Boyle.

Bern Township police said the investigation is ongoing and they will pursue any active leads.

Anyone with information can call Crime Alert Berks County at 877-373-9913. A cash reward of up to $5,000 is being offered for information that leads to an arrest.

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