CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Thieves targeting hair and nail salons have hit 86 businesses across the Chicagoland area in the past six months, and police now believe two young men could be responsible.
Officials previously released security video images of the two individuals in hopes that someone will recognize them and put an end to the crime spree.
“They take cash, in some cases some jewelry, and in one case at least a laptop computer. The offender is in the establishment for probably no more than a minute and then they're gone,” said Chief Charles Wernick, with Northbrook Police.
One of the suspects was taken into custody on Thursday, Feb. 18.
Police say 26-year-old Alan Konwinski of Highland Park was stopped by police for driving with a suspended license. When he was arrested he was wearing the same hoodie that was seen in some surveillance footage. He was transported back to the Northbrook Police Department, where he made admitted to taking part in some of the burglaries.
Konwinski was charged with five counts of burglary.
Most of the break-ins have happened between 8 p.m. and midnight. Thirty two different police agencies are now working together to try and solve the crimes. They have happened every night of the week and police believe the suspects are casing their victims.
“They are watching the businesses, we believe, when they leave, at which time they're breaking into the stores shortly after them closing up,” said Detective Sergeant Mark Graf with the Northbrook Police.
Three weekends ago, the burglars smashed in the front door of the CK Salons in Grayslake.
“When the police were here and they called me to come in, the glass had shattered all the way through all the way through the middle of the store,” said owner Chris Klemm.
She said in her case, the thieves left empty handed.
“Most people pay you know with credit and debit cards so we don't do a lot of cash transactions,” Klemm said.
But at other salons, the crooks found what they were looking for, cash left in the register. Some businesses have been hit multiple times.
Most of the burglaries did not involve large sums of money, the biggest haul, police said, was about $2,000.
Investigators are convinced someone knows who they are. They believe the suspects could be driven by a drug habit.
Chris Klemm is worried the crime pattern doesn’t change to where it would directly threaten employees and customers.
“You know we've had employee concerns about that, we've talked about it since it happened and we're just lucky that it has not happened during the business hours,” Klemm said.
Crimestoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information that helps police catch the other suspect. Anyone with information is asked to call the Northbrook police.