Nine businesses in three cities in south Orange County were burglarized in the early hours of Wednesday, Jan. 11, investigators said.
The burglaries happened at five businesses in Rancho Santa Margarita, two in Laguna Hills and two more in Mission Viejo between 12:30 and 2:45 a.m., according to Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Sgt. Mike Woodruff. During the burglaries, suspects broke windows, grabbed cash registers, and tried to get money out before fleeing.
It was not immediately clear if the same group of suspects carried out all of the thefts, Woodruff added, and no suspects had been arrested as of Wednesday afternoon.
The exact locations for the Mission Viejo and Laguna Hills businesses were not immediately available, Woodruff said.
The five businesses affected in Rancho Santa Margarita were in the 30000 block of Avenida de las Flores, one of them being Selma’s Chicago Pizzeria & Taphouse, said manager Nicholas Poe.
Wednesday’s burglary was the second at Selma’s in the past four months, Poe said, adding that the recent incidents are the first he’s seen after five years with Selma’s. And while thieves “stole a lot of money” in the first burglary, Poe said this time the suspects were unsuccessful.
“I don’t think people realize restaurants don’t carry a lot of cash nowadays, it’s all credit cards,” Poe explained.
Although no money was taken, Poe said Selma’s did have a smashed glass door requiring repair. Still, despite the recent spate of break-ins, Poe said he feels safe at work.
“I still love it here in RSM,” Poe said. “We don’t see a lot of stuff like this.”