Suspect used a rock to smash door during Montgomery Co. break-ins, store owner says

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At least five businesses were broken into at a shopping center in Montgomery County, Maryland, late Wednesday into Thursday, police say.

Officers were alerted to a commercial alarm in the 19100 block of Montgomery Village Avenue at about 11 p.m. Wednesday. They found a suspect had forced open the front door of a business, stolen money from the cash register and left the scene, the Montgomery County Police said.

About four hours later, around 3:20 a.m., the same suspect broke into four other businesses. Three were in the 19200 block of Montgomery Village Ave. and one was around the corner from the center in the 9900 block of Stedwick Road. It was not immediately clear if anything was stolen.

Mike Donnely, the owner of the Ledo Pizza at the Montgomery Village Shopping Center, said he received a call from the store’s alarm company overnight about a break-in.

 “I pulled up my cameras, my security cameras, and I saw one guy, just one guy, that broke in, used a rock to crash the door,” Donnely said.

He said he keeps the store’s cash registers empty in case of break-ins.

“Came in, tried to go to the cash registers, saw that there was nothing there and then left, so he was maybe a minute in there,” Donnely said.

Nearby businesses, Dollar Tree, The Joint Chiropractic and Moe’s Southwest Grill were also broken into.

Video captured early Thursday shows the front door of Ledo Pizza smashed. Broken glass litters the sidewalk around the shopping center.

By midday, most of the stores were open again for business. Damage cleanup was underway, and doors were boarded up or replaced. The Joint Chiropractic door was cracked, and the Dollar Tree’s door was missing glass.

A business owner said he feels discouraged because foot traffic is already down at the shopping center.

“Everybody’s kind of afraid of the center. Even though the center has done like a lot of things to improve it,” he said. “I think the security presence just needs to be a little stronger so that way the businesses have an opportunity to grow.”

This is a developing story. Stay with News4 for updates.

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