CSI: Abruzzi

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A low-tech incursion. Photos by KLH | Eye

Note: On Monday, Feb. 25, Arcata Police released security camera photos of the suspect. – Ed.

Eye Editor

JACOBY’S STOREHOUSE – Where most burglars attempt some measure of stealth in their larcenous doings, others, compelled by an overriding sense of urgency, don’t.

On Tuesday, Feb. 5 at about 8:30 a.m. Abruzzi bookkeeper Michelle Taylor noticed broken glass on the floor of the Italian restaurant on the ground floor of Jacoby’s Storehouse.

Someone had, apparently, just moments earlier, hurled a brick through the costly beveled, tempered-glass window in the side door and entered the darkened restaurant.

A plausible scenario for the break-in was relatively easy to reconstruct, based on the destruction the perpetrator left behind.

After breaking a two-foot-square hole in the thick window, the suspect then opened a cabinet containing napkins just inside the door.

IMG_0251He or she then went over to the salad bar and doffed their shoes, which may have had glass in them. Cabinet doors left open there attest to more frantic rummaging.

Finally, the perp located the restaurant’s bar, and there located their quarry – booze, and lots of it.

An aluminum bar securing liquor cabinets was ripped from the wall. The suspect then got down to business, pulling out bottles of high-end hooch, and not daintily.

The suspect downed one bottle of Trentadue Chocolate Amore liqueur on the spot, then loaded up some sort of container – possibly a shirt or jacket – with dozens of bottles of tangy adult beverages. Sometime during the escapade, the burglar also guzzled a half-bottle of rum.

IMG_4807The load-out didn’t go so well, possibly due to drunkenness or the inefficient cargo conveyance.

Several bottles of wine were dropped and broken along the way back to the exit.

At some point, the suspect also stepped on a menu, leaving behind a smear of blood.

After police arrived, an abandoned cache of 34 still-full beer bottles was found in a corner of a planter behind Chase Bank. The suspect may have found them to difficult to carry. These were soon collected by Abruzzi proprietor Chris Smith.

Chris Smith retrieves 34 bottles of beer from the planter out back.

Chris Smith retrieves 34 bottles of beer from the planter out back.

Chase employee Addie Jacobs said that on her way to the bank that morning, she had noticed an oddly-attired individual sitting in the narrow green strip along the south side of the parking lot next door to the Storehouse. Despite the cold, the man was barefoot and wearing just a t-shirt.

That individual was not located, nor was any other suspect. APD Lt. Todd Dokweiler said his department is waiting – almost a week later – for Chase to provide video footage from the security camera on the ATM located near where the cache of beer bottles was found.

“We collected physical evidence at the scene that we can attached to him,” Dokweiler said. “That will connect him.”

He said a DNA test on the blood was unlikely, given that it was a property crime. Smith said the liquor loss was still being tallied, but he estimated it at around $200.


The blood-smeared menu.

The window will cost $411 to replace. Dokweiler said it was common for a business’s window breakage to cost more than the merchandise stolen or damaged.

Smith said that after the Arcata Eye posted photos of the break-in damage online, diners came to Abruzzi in saying they wished it patronize the business as a show of support.


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