Police: Business, household burglaries on the rise

Business and home burglaries have escalated in Petaluma recently, and police suspect a burglary ring could be responsible for some of the crimes.

In the past four months Petaluma officers have investigated 47 burglaries, compared with 17 in the same time period last year, Lt. Tim Lyons said Tuesday. Of those, 22 were homes and 25 were businesses.

At least seven commercial burglaries appear to have been committed by the same person or people, Lyons said.

They've used a rock or other item to break a window and get inside. They've taken the register outside, broken into it and then dumped it nearby landscaping.

"It's a strange spot of bold burglaries," said Marie McCusker, executive director of the Petaluma Downtown Association.

Business owners are angry, she said.

"(The burglars) are taking the opportunity to take advantage of the small businesses," McCusker said.

Businesses hit for cash included a yogurt shop, hardware store, bakery, two restaurants and the Allano Club, a nonprofit agency serving people trying to control alcohol and drug addictions.

"I was actually hurt a little bit," said Ross Bracken, Allano Club general manager.

"They broke the back-door glass window and climbed in, cut the power cord on the cash register" and took about $150 from the till, Bracken said.

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