Downtown Santa Rosa business owners have added security cameras and motion detectors after a string of burglaries in recent months.

Burglars struck six downtown businesses in a four-week period in February and March, police Officer Sean Sulonen told a group of business owners at an informal meeting Wednesday night.

The break-ins occurred along Fourth and Fifth streets on either side of Santa Rosa Plaza. They were part of 11 commercial burglaries in the city center during that period.

In many instances, merchants had left money in cash registers.

"That was a reward for those people breaking in," said Sulonen, a member of the team that includes officers on downtown bike patrols.

He urged merchants to lock doors, turn on lights and leave their cash registers open and empty at night.

In some of the recent break-ins, the thief or thieves cut phone lines or turned off power in an attempt to thwart burglar alarms.

Debra Anderson, owner of Debra's Corner hair salon on Fifth Street in the Mailer Frey Building, said a would-be burglar in February cut power to the shops there but was scared away.

The building since has added security cameras, she said. Sulonen said other businesses have added motion detectors and taken other steps to beef up security.

He told the group of 14 at Christy's on the Square that police had arrested a man suspected of downtown burglaries that took place in November and December. He didn't reveal the man's identity, but said his method of entry involved throwing a rock through a glass door or window.

Adriann Saslow, manager of the Made Local Marketplace on Fifth Street, wondered aloud whether it was the same burglar who had broken into the shop in both October and December.

"I'm hoping it's that guy because he was a window smasher," she said.

You can reach Staff Writer Robert Digitale at 521-5285 or