Search continues for 'smash and grab' bandit - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Search continues for 'smash and grab' bandit

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It's a crime spree in the Upper Valley that has taken the phrase 'smash and grab' to a whole new level.

Surveillance video shows the thief crashing through the front door of Pearce Jewelers in West Lebanon. Once inside, the burglar was in for a big surprise. Most of the jewelry is hidden at night, except for a few pieces of sterling silver. Plus he was unprepared.

"He made a trail. He couldn't hold it all cause he didn't put it in anything -- he carried it out of the store," said Lori Roy with Pearce Jewelers.

The suspect got away with about 300-hundred dollars worth of jewelry. "There was more damage done to the store than what he had taken," Roy said.

Bear Hollow Guitars was hit in similar fashion earlier this month. But in that case the owners suspect the crook knew what he was looking for -- passing by 100 dollar guitars. He took just three, but they were valued at 15-thousand dollars. "They were over in the corner, further away from the door -- not the easiest ones to grab," said Bear Hollow's Neil Laurent.

Police believe the suspect in these cases also rammed the Jiffy Mart in Quchee earlier this month. "I'm very concerned about the type of person who is willing to use his car to do this," said Lebanon Police Chief Jim Alexander.

The best video of the suspect is when he stole a safe with cash and credit cards from a bar and restaurant in Stowe last month. A car was not used in that case.

"These do seem very sporadic in what he is taking," Chief Alexander said. "We want to pick him up and stop it."

Police believe the man is driving a silver Volkswagen Jetta without a front license plate. Despite the fact he has rammed several buildings, investigators believe the damage to his car is minimal.

"They are hitting doors and popping doors open right in the center -- they're glass doors, they are not reinforced,"  Chief Alexander said.

A crime spree that has shaken a region. And business owners hope the burglar is caught before his next costly smash and grab.

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