Knoxville Police investigating series of ‘smash-and-grab’ burglaries

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UPDATE: Man arrested in connection with downtown burglaries and break-ins.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The Police Department is working a series of smash-and-grab type burglaries in the downtown area.

Several businesses were broken in to over the last few days. Investigators are now trying to identify the suspects involved.

The businesses, Yassin’s Falafel House downtown, Graphic Creations, and Last Days of Autumn Brewery, are within two miles of each other. Knoxville Police said it’s still too early in their investigation to make any possible connection.

“He walked by the front door first, kind of looked in to see if there was any activity is my guess,” Graphic Creations owner Jim Caughorn said. “Then he walked around the corner of our building, was gone about a minute, and grabbed a rock that we use to chalk vehicles when we’re getting ready to wrap them. And came back and shot put it through the window.”

The owner says the suspect didn’t walk out with anything.

“I think he was looking for a cash register, which ironically was directly behind him, I don’t think he ever saw it, but there’s hardly any money in it,” Caughorn said.

A similar situation unfolded at Last Days of Autumn Brewing.

“I watched the video that they had posted on their Facebook page, and just seeing what happened here it looks like they’re probably identical,” Michael Frede of Last Days of Autumn Brewing said. “Someone had thrown a rock through the front door, and the only thing they took was our empty cash box.”

At Yassin’s Falafel House, there is still evidence of what happened over the weekend. A shattered window there is now boarded up.

“They took the register because they can’t find any money because we make sure before we leave our register is empty,” Yassin Terou said.

KPD said it’s too early to tell about any possible connection between the three shops, but the similarities aren’t lost on the owners.

“I mean it sucks for all of us. It’s all small business,” Frede said.

“Hopefully with this video and some other collaboration with other business owners we can figure out who it is and get him caught,” Caughorn said.

Graphic Creations fixed their door with a stronger glass that’s a lot harder to break, and Last Days of Autumn repaired their door as well.

Yassin’s is waiting for their new glass to come in. In the meantime, they are encouraging those offering to pay for their damage to instead help out the other businesses impacted, living up to their name as the “Nicest Place in America.”

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