Fort Collins Police are investigating burglaries at local veterinary facilities that appeared to be aimed at stealing cash.
At least eight burglaries at animal-care businesses have been reported since September with thieves taking cash boxes or other containers that might have valuables, said police Sgt. Paul Wood. Medications have not been targeted in the break-ins. See Coloradoan Article here. No official police press release yet?
“They don’t seem drug motivated,” Wood said.
The thefts have not followed a pattern for time of day, location or method of entry. In some cases, a large rock has been used to break through a door or window. In others, the entry method is not known, he said.
The latest burglary occurred about 1 a.m. Monday at the South Mesa Veterinary Hospital, 3801 S. Mason St. Video surveillance shows a person wearing a hooded jacket and gloves enter the waiting area of the clinic’s boarding facility, walk directly to where a cash drawer sits under a counter, take the drawer and leave quickly. The thief is visible for about 10 seconds.
The break-in was disturbing on a number of levels, said Dr. Jana Dean, co-owner of South Mesa. The thief appeared to be familiar with the business and the location of security cameras and the cash box, which contained “maybe $100.”
“Someone has been coming in to our facility, staking things out and getting the lay of the land,” she said. “He knew what he was doing for sure.”
The thief entered the building by smashing in a door with a large river rock, Dean said. A hood concealed the thief’s face.
Security at the business was increased a couple of years ago after a break-in and an assault of staff members by someone seeking drugs, Dean said. But it was not enough to deter another break-in.
“It’s hard when you do those things and someone is still able to violate you,” she said.
The break-ins at animal-care businesses probably are related, Wood said, although whether they are being committed by one person is not clear. Police have limited physical evidence related to the cases but are following a couple of leads, he said.
The suspect appears to be a male. Little else is discernible from surveillance video taken at a couple of the crime scenes, he said.
Dean is frustrated in what she says is a lack of communication from the police department about the crimes and the progress of the investigation. The case appears to be a low priority, she said.
Wood said the investigation is active, but more information such as a tip from the public is needed for a breakthrough.
“We have not had a lot of leads,” he said. “We’re being as aggressive as we can.”