MASON, Ohio - Twenty-Four businesses in Middletown, Mason, Lebanon, Monroe and Franklin Township have been burglarized since Dec. 3, leaving thousands of dollars in damage and perhaps tens of thousands of dollars in stolen cash.
At leas four businesses in Mason were struck Monday night, including Zoom's Nail & Spa and Monroe Dry Cleaning on Tylersville Road and Cincinnati Team Apparel and Sugar Plum Cupcakery on Snider Road.
"You just feel violated," said Patty Hannika owner of Sugar Plum Cupcakery.
Hannika's glass door was shattered with a rock thrown by the burglars. It was thrown so hard that it went through another wall 20 feet away. Police said at a 2 p.m. news conference about the break-ins that this activity is standard in all of the burglaries.
"They stole the drawer out of the cash register," said Hannika.
Hannika's walk-in business is closed temporarily but she is still taking orders for her fresh cupcakes. She says December is her busiest month of the year and this is a terrible blow because she must now take the time to do a thorough cleaning of all her equipment before she can begin operations again.
"I was their initial call this morning because bakers get in to work earlier than everybody else but as people began getting into work, police here in Mason started getting more calls," said Hannika.
Police were already at Cincinnati Team Apparel before owner AnnMarie Pottle arrived.
"The door had been smashed. The register drawer had been taken," said Pottle who did say the thieves left behind some blood droplets on the floor.
As calls started coming in and authorities from Butler and Warren counties realized the scope of the crimes, a decision was made to meet at the Warren County Sheriff's Office to compare notes.
A photo of a vehicle that is either a Mecury Sable or Ford Taurus connected to the burglaries was released (it can be seen in the slideshow above) and police believe a woman may be involved. Authorities said at the news conference they are seeking surveillance video that may identify the alleged burglar.
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