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Suspects in robberies at start of the year apprehended

MARYSVILLE — Marysville Police believe they have apprehended suspects in a string of local burglaries that occurred near the start of the year.

On Jan. 9, the Boondockers Restaurant on Cedar Avenue was broken into, through one of the windows in its front door, and its safe was stolen. On State Avenue, El Rinconcito was burglarized sometime after closing at 11:30 p.m. Jan. 16 and before opening Jan 17, while Pizza Hut was broken into between 2-7 a.m. Jan. 17. GA Maxwell's Restaurant on Third Street was hit after closing Jan. 19 and before opening at 5 a.m. Jan. 20, while American Cleaners on Grove Street was burglarized after closing Jan. 23 and before opening Jan. 24.

Marysville Police Lt. Jeff Goldman was among those who saw a pattern in these burglaries.

"They tended to use prying instruments, and they always went right to where the money was, either in a cash register or in a safe," Goldman said. "This would indicate that they've been in these businesses previously, looking around."

Marysville Police Detective Daniel Vinson shared this view, and in early February, he contacted representatives of King County law enforcement, asking if they'd spotted a similar M.O. in any of their burglaries. Investigators from jurisdictions ranging from Bellingham to Thurston County contributed their information to a database, but the first crack in the case came in March, when Snohomish County Sheriff's Deputies apprehended suspects in an unrelated vehicle prowl case.

According to Vinson, an interview with those suspects yielded information about other robberies. A joint task force of Marysville, Lake Stevens and Snohomish County law enforcement agents eventually came to include a host of other jurisdictions, some as far away as Puyallup, before arrests were made.

Vinson acknowledged that there's not enough evidence yet to charge the suspects on all the counts they're suspected of, but he believes that the three suspects were involved in the Boondockers burglary, as well as up to 140 other burglaries, and that evidence will be forthcoming.

In the meantime, Goldman warned merchants and business owners to keep an eye out for those who walk in and either ask too many questions or else wander around inside of the establishment without any apparent purpose. He explained that it's not uncommon for one person to ask questions while one or more partners surveys the premises.

Goldman also urged business owners not to leave the "starter money" from their cash registers in their buildings, and advised them to remove their deposits from the premises on a daily basis.

"If you don't empty your cash register, you could lose anywhere from $60 to $300 in a single night," Goldman said. "Some businesses leave their money in their safes for two or three days."

Goldman encouraged business owners keep their security systems in good condition.

"If your surveillance cameras record to DVD, make sure you're using new DVDs. If they record to tape, make sure you're using new tapes. If you record over a tape too many times, the images it captures will degrade."

Goldman also asked the neighbors and passersby of area businesses to be equally watchful for their fellow community members.

"You'll often have guy in a car while two others are breaking into the building," Goldman said. "If you see a car parked suspiciously outside of a business that looks closed, call us. If it's nothing, that's fine, but if it's not, that's how we catch these guys."

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