Burglar caught on tape at massage studio

Court: Downtown business robbed of ‘meaningful’ items

jpawloski@theolympian.comOctober 4, 2012 

A burglar who made off with stolen items from Copper Moon Massage Therapy at Columbia Drive and Third Avenue in downtown Olympia is seen on surveillance footage pulling the brim of his cap over his eyes after 4 a.m. Friday morning, owner Kari Jones said.

That’s because the thief looked up, saw the camera and realized he was being filmed, Jones said. She added that Olympia police have reviewed more than 20 minutes of surveillance footage from Friday’s robbery, and she hopes images of the suspect’s face help lead to an arrest.

Jones said she and other employees feel violated after the burglary. “We’re such a tight family here that it does feel like home,” she said of the business. “It was kind of creepy.”

The suspect apparently forced entry through a rear door in an alley behind the business, Jones said. She said that when employees arrived to open Friday morning, they found the business ransacked, with jewelry, photos and paintings stolen. One of the paintings was given to Jones by her deceased father, Jones said. “The stuff he took was meaningful,” she added.

Jones said the losses could have been much worse - several heavier items, such as a stereo receiver were piled up in the alleyway, but for some reason, had not been taken.

“We could have lost a lot more,” she said.

Olympia police have said residential burglaries in Olympia are skyrocketing in 2012. Copper Moon Massage Therapy’s burglary is the second recent high-profile burglary of a downtown Olympia business – the all-ages music venue Northern being the other.

Jones said her spirits have been lifted by the support of the Olympia Downtown Association and other neighboring businesses. The downtown association has helped her distribute a wanted poster of the suspect, she said. And the owners of Radiance sent her some sage to burn to get rid any potential bad karma left over from the burglary, she said. “It’s nice to know we have friends and neighbors,” she said.

In recent months, the alley behind her business has become a magnet for vagrants who use it as a toilet, Jones added. She also said there has been a noticeable criminal element in the area, and someone tried to steal an artist’s bicycle from in front of her business recently.

“It’s got to stop,” she said. “It’s frustrating.”

Anyone with information leading to an arrest in the burglary is eligible for a $500 reward. Call Thurston County Crime Stoppers at 360-493-2222 or the Olympia Police Department at 360-753-8300. Crime Stoppers callers can remain anonymous.

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445 jpawloski@theolympian.com

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