City police are dealing with a rash of break-ins as three area businesses reported thefts of cash, occurring sometime between closing hours Saturday and noon Sunday.
Police said they are trying to determine whether a connection exists among the thefts at the Feed Exchange, Classic Club Deli and Catering, and Advanced Computer Service.
The Classic Club Deli opened in April in the Winchester Exchange,formerly Sherwood Square Mall.
Deli owner Gary Teegardin said that as he was driving past the East Main Street store, he decided to pick up some eggs.
He unlocked the front door and saw a rock on the floor. Shattered glass from the rear door was scattered across the store.
Police said the suspect may have come through the mall beforethrowing the rock through the deli's back door and breaking in. After checking all of the doors in the exchange, police said the mall itself "was locked up tighter than a drum."
Deli managers said they usually keep a small amount of money in the cash register. Sunday was an exception, however.
"Unfortunately, a customer had paid us for a large catering job Saturday and we left the money in the drawer," said co-owner Ted Traurig. "There was more than $600 here waiting to be deposited on Monday."
The owners said they plan to install an alarm system.
In another incident, $1,100 was stolen from the Feed Exchange in Cranberry Square, which sells pet food and supplies. The owner, who declined to comment, reported the theft shortly after noon Sunday.
Investigating officers said they found no visible signs offorced entry into the North Center Street establishment.
"There could be several explanations," said Capt. Roger G. Joneckis of the city police. "The suspect may have had a key or could have picked the lock. It's even possible that the door could have been accidentally left open."
Later that afternoon, David Bailey, owner of Advanced Computer Service, reported a breaking and entering and theft of a "small amount" of cash from his West Main Street business.
Police said the suspect forced the rear door of the building open, possibly with a crow bar.
"With no real damage here, we consider ourselves lucky," said Bailey. "They could have taken valuable equipment or destroyed an expensive door to get in here."
Joneckis said the investigation is continuing.
"At this point, we are not sure if these incidents are connected," he said.