A dozen restaurants and stores in Portland, Maine, have been targeted by thieves in the past two weeks, according to police.
Among the victims that have either been robbed or nearly been broken into since July 28 are Maine Oyster Co., Maine Juice Co., Wallace James Clothing, and Little Tap House.
The latest incident happened early Monday morning at the Squeaky Clean Laundromat on Washington Avenue, police said.
Melanie Henriquez called police right after arriving to work when she found part of the store front's glass door broken and the cash register missing.
"I was kind of scared," she said. "I didn't know if there was anything in there."
Bryna Gootkind said the breakfast-lunch restaurant she co-owns in the East End was hit early Saturday morning. She said the register and safe were missing, meaning a loss of between $700 and $1,000. She says tablets and laptops in the restaurants were left undisturbed.
At Maine Juice Co., whomever broke in got access to the store through a window and stole $600 from a cash drawer.
The store's owner, Tim Nickerson, says the robbery happened Aug. 5 and the burglar poured water used to soak almonds over the register.
"It's definitely a hit for us," Nickerson said. "Being a local business, every dollar counts."
Portland police say the burglaries are similar but they cannot say for certain that they were committed by the same person.
Authorities are now asking all business owners and employees in the city to be vigilant and lock all windows and doors. They are also asking for the public to call or text them with any tips about the suspect or suspects.
In the meantime, the businesses targeted will be cleaning up and some will pursue insurance claims. Others say the dollar amount taken does not warrant paying a deductible.
"It's just a horrible thing to do," Nickerson said.