Smash-and-grab suspect wanted after being caught on camera targeting Family Dollar stores

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Indianapolis police are asking for the public's help catching someone they suspect may be a serial burglar.

Investigators say the suspect has been targeting Family Dollar stores around Indianapolis. In early January, police say the suspect pried open a back door before smashing through a wall inside a store on West Washington.

Police reports show that break-in is one of many crimes aimed at dollar stores around town in recent months.

Running through the back of the store, as security lights turn on, a hooded suspect can be seen on video disabling the store's security.

"This suspect knew exactly what he was doing and maybe had some prior experience with it," said IMPD officer Jim Gillespie.

After cutting the wires from electrical boxes, the suspect ransacked a Family Dollar on West Washington.  You don't see it in this video, but police say after breaking down an inside wall, the thief apparently grabbed cartons of cigarettes and put them into plastic trash bins to carry them out of the store.

According to detectives, Family Dollar managers have reported similar thefts at several different Indianapolis stores in recent months.

In fact a location on MLK has been hit multiple times.  Video from back in 2015 shows a suspect forcing open a side door, then filling a trash bin with cigarettes, similar to the crime last month.

"We have seen other cases where suspects have broken in through a wall and disabled alarms.  It’s a similar MO we have seen.  So we’re looking at other cases to see if they link up exactly and if it could be the same suspects," said Gillespie.

In addition to the smash and grabs, in the summer and fall of last year, police responded to more than a half dozen armed robberies at Family Dollar stores on the city's east side.

Family Dollar isn’t alone. This week employees at a Dollar General near 38th and College called us concerned about their safety after that store was robbed three times in the last two months with no arrests.

IMPD says it's important for all store managers to take the precautions needed to protect their employees and for the public to call in any tips they may have.

"It’s something that store employees and managers need to be aware of," said Gillespie.  "It’s something the whole community needs to be aware of.  If they know someone who comes up with lot of new stuff, that might be something suspicious about that."

Anyone with information on the suspect seen in the video is asked to contact Crime Stopper at 317-262-TIPS.

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