Norfolk Police investigating string of business break-ins on Colley Avenue

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Posted at 12:15 PM, Oct 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-27 17:17:53-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Several businesses along Norfolk's Colley Avenue experienced break-ins that their owners believe could have been related.

According to Kim Keene, the owner of the Starving Artist Café, someone broke in around 3 a.m. Tuesday and stole hundreds of dollars in cash and alcohol.

"I've been here for seven years - I had never had any issues like this," she said. "I'm still very angry about it, just with the whole bit of everything restaurants have been through."

Surveillance video that Keene gave to News 3 showed someone fully covered in long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and what could be a ski mask lingering in the business and rummaging through the shelves and cash register.

"The cashbox was destroyed. He took all of the bank for the day. I had to go and get another $200 and of course immediately fix the glass, which the glass is the biggest cost," Keene said.

Head down Colley Avenue a bit and you will find a similar pattern. The ABC liquor store near the Food Lion also experienced a break-in overnight on Tuesday, according to the employees. News 3 saw the store's window boarded up.

Employees declined an interview but said the person who burglarized the store looked the same as the person on the Starving Artist's surveillance video.

Kelly's Tavern, also on Colley, told News 3 their restaurant was hit at the beginning of the month, and an ATM machine was stolen. Police are still investigating.

Back at the Starving Artist, Keene said she actually used to have an alarm system, but the pandemic changed that.

"I [said to myself], 'I have the cameras - do I really need the security system?' So, weighing that out and saving that $50 a month was something that I knew I could cut, so I did, which you know now obviously was a mistake that I did that," Keene said.

Now, she's warning other small businesses to increase security where they can.

"Make sure [your] building is secure and security system is up and the quality of the cameras that they have [is good]," she said.

Police have not said whether or not they believe the break-ins are related, but said they are investigating.

If you or someone you know has information in these cases that could help police, take action and call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP (1-888-562-5887).

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