Crime spree targets University area businesses

Police are investigating a pair of break ins at one location and a robbery at another, all within days of each other.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police are investigating after several University City restaurants and stores were targeted by criminals. 

CMPD is investigating a pair of break-ins at one location and a robbery at another, all within days of each other around the Shoppes at University Place. A Blaze Pizza and Five Guys were broken into in the same shopping center.  On Thursday, the Five Guys had a “temporarily closed” sign with a window boarded up.

Police said the same suspects broke into Blaze Pizza a few doors down. A security officer was nearby at the time around 2 a.m. Wednesday.

“(He) heard the glass being broken by the suspects as they went in the door,” said Captain Brian Foley with CMPD.

That officer relayed information to police who tried to stop the stolen car.

“That vehicle fled at a high rate of speed, took off through UNCC’s campus, we did not pursue that vehicle because of the interest of safety,” Foley said.

NBC Charlotte talked to Pravin Patel, the owner of the Tropical Smoothie Café next door.

“I came here and I see the glass was broken, it surprised me because this area is pretty nice,” said Patel.

“These places are so new don’t like to see crime there,” says one shopper.

Just days earlier, there was a robbery at Home Depot in the same part of town. Police say four suspects stole items and roughed up a loss prevention officer Tuesday afternoon.

“They were trying to steal hand tools, powered hand tools, which are high dollar items and very easily resold,” said Foley.

Across the street from Home Depot, there was another serious crime.  A Target employee is accused of helping a suspect steal $16,000 in gift cards and other merchandise. However, despite the recent incidents police say overall crime is down six percent from this time last year in the University area.

“Commercial burglaries with the growth we are having in University City is always a challenge for us,” Foley explained.

So far, no arrests have been made. Police are investigating all the cases and working to identify the suspects involved. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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