BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Three Allentown men have been arrested for a series of 34 "smash and grab" burglaries at businesses all over the Lehigh Valley.
Charged were Jose Antonio Cortes, 22, Ralph Alberto Abreu, 21, and Alex Ramos, 23.
The three suspects originally were charged with the July 19 burglary of Sam's Pizza along Route 873 in North Whitehall Twp., Lehigh County.
But on Wednesday, police added 31 additional burglaries and two attempted burglaries to the original charges.
The trio of suspects also was charged with thefts totaling $21,415 and criminal mischief charges totaling $33,721 worth of damage.
The arrests were announced by Pennsylvania State Police, Whitehall Township Bureau of Police and the Lehigh County District Attorney.
Most of the burglaries took place all over Lehigh County, at businesses ranging from New Tripoli to Bethlehem to Macungie. Seven were in Allentown.
One of the burglaries took place in Northampton, Northampton County. Three occurred in Douglass Township, Montgomery County and one in Colebrookdale Township, Berks County.
Police departments noticed an increase in commercial burglaries between May and July in Allentown and surrounding communities. As they compared cases, investigators noticed similarities in attire of the suspects and their mode of operation.
Surveillance video showed the burglars looked the same. That video also helped police identify their car, a 1996 or 1997 white Honda sedan.
In all cases, a rock or similar object was thrown at the front glass door of the commercial establishment to gain entry. Once the burglars were inside, they took cash or the actual cash register.
As the burglaries continued, police set up surveillance and at some locations actually deployed inside businesses they thought might be hit.
Allentown, PA 18102