Rash of business burglaries continues as part of a busy night for Ithaca police

August 10, 2014 by Mark H. Anbinder

A rash of recent commercial burglaries continued in the wee hours of Sunday morning, as part of what turned out to be a busy night of incidents for the Ithaca Police Department. The Warehouse Carpet Outlet and another commercial building in Ithaca's west end were among the burglary victims.

Ithaca police say their night included two vehicle fires near Downtown Ithaca. Officers were called to assist the Ithaca Fire Department in a vehicle fire in a parking lot near the Alex Haley municipal swimming pool in the 400 block of North Albany Street at about 10:15pm. That vehicle, a 1995 Chevrolet sedan, was completely engulfed in flames and was destroyed.  Shortly after, officers were again called to assist IFD at a vehicle fire, just a block away in the 400 block of North Geneva Street, where the interior of a 1992 GMC Sierra pickup truck was on fire. Investigators say the circumstances of the blazes are suspicious.

Then at about 11pm, police officers responded to a residence in the 400 block of North Cayuga Street where a victim reported a man had entered his apartment. The victim says he interrupted a perpetrator trying to steal multiple items from his home. The man threw a bottle at the resident and fled the apartment.

At 11:32pm, police responded to a report that an unknown male was passed out in an area resident's vehicle on Sears Street. Officers identified the man as Ezra N. Broadwell, and realized he fit the description of the burglary suspect from Cayuga Street. The victim positively identified Mr. Broadwell as the man who had burglarized his home, so Mr. Broadwell was transported to police headquarters and charged with burglary in the second degree.

A few hours later, at about 2:29am, police responded to a burglar alarm activation at the Warehouse Carpet Outlet, where officers found a window alongside an entrance door had been smashed as an attempt to gain entry. Police investigators believe the perpetrator did not gain entrance. The night before, though, police say the same business was burglarized at about 3am Saturday, and an undisclosed amount of money and property were stolen.

Minutes later, at about 2:42am, police were alerted to a burglary that had taken place at a Taber Street building that houses several businesses. One glass door was smashed in and other doors damaged. Police say money and other property were stolen from multiple businesses.

A still from security video showing the burglar who broke into businesses on Taber Street. Image courtesy of Ithaca To Go.A still from security video showing the burglar who broke into businesses on Taber Street. Image courtesy of Ithaca To Go.Amy C. Zarbock, a co-owner of Ithaca To Go, a food delivery business that operates in the Taber Street building, says it's the third break-in at their building in about a six-week period. Though their business does have late-night hours, they say, "Thankfully, everyone is safe." Zarbock says a small amount of petty cash was stolen, as little to no money is kept on the premises. (Most of their deliveries involve online credit card payments.)

While investigating the Taber Street burglaries, police heard an audible alarm at about 9:50am, and discovered that the nearby Ithaca Grain and Pet Supply building had been broken into, as well. Officers found a window had been smashed and evidence that the perpetrator had rifled through that business.

Other recent businesses that have been the victims of burglaries or burglary attempts include the Piggery butcher shop in Franklin Plaza, AJ Foreign Auto on Cherry Street, and Gimme! Coffee on North Cayuga Street.

Police say a suspect in the west end burglaries has been described as a black male with an athletic build, wearing a light-colored cardigan-type sweater, jeans with white stitching on the back, and black sneakers. The suspect used a plaid or flannel shirt to cover his face at times.

IPD asks that anyone with information that might aid the investigations into these incidents contact the criminal investigations unit through police dispatch at 607-272-3245, the administration line at 607-272-9973, the Crimestoppers Tipline at 607-697-0333, or the anonymous online tip form.

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