Howard County police investigating multiple burglaries in Columbia, Ellicott City

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Howard County police are investigating multiple commercial burglaries that happened over the weekend and on Tuesday.

Twelve different businesses in Ellicott City and Columbia were broken into Saturday morning between between 3-5 a.m., police said.

Surveillance video from Philly’s Best in Columbia showed three suspects who broke the front door to gain entry to the business. The suspects stole cash.

“So, in about an hour and a half span early Sept. 9, we had a dozen commercial burglaries that had the same (pattern),” Howard County police spokesman Seth Hoffman said.

Police said they believe the suspects from the surveillance video at Philly’s Best are the same group that robbed the eleven other businesses.

Officers said that early Tuesday morning, six similar burglaries were reported, and they are working to see if that latest batch of crime is connected.

One of those smash and grabs took place at the Kings Contrivance Liquor and Smoke Shop in Columbia.

“I came in this morning, there was glass everywhere, bottles broken, just stuff all over the floor. It was a mess,” employee Jessica Gonzales said.

The thieves broke in just before 3:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, taking the cash register and safe before leaving. It all took just a few minutes.

“I was a little scared because I leave here at night sometimes by myself when I’m closing,” Gonzales said.

While this latest string of burglaries was executed in a similar manner, police haven’t linked these eight to the 12 that happened over the weekend.

The liquor store was closed for a few hours Tuesday morning as workers cleaned up the mess. They hope the culprits are caught soon.

“I think that if they don’t catch them, it’s going to happen again. So, I’m going to keep my fingers crossed and hope they get them,” employee Susan Cope said.

Police are asking anyone with information to call them.

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