A bald suspect armed with a crowbar who has a taste for vandalism is likely responsible for five burglaries of small businesses on the State Avenue corridor on Olympia's east side since early Sunday morning, according to Olympia police.
The suspect is described by Olympia police spokeswoman Laura Wohl as a white male, bald, about five-feet, ten-inches tall and weighing about 170 pounds. The suspect was last seen by a person who interrupted him as he tried to break down the back door of the Olympia Honey Baker, a new business at 1713 State Avenue, about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to police.
When Olympia officers responded to the citizen's report of a burglary in progress, a K9 unit tracked the suspect's scent to Bigelow Park, where the trail was lost, Wohl said.
"We are definitely looking for him," Wohl said Tuesday.
The man is suspected of burglarizing four other small businesses since early Sunday morning, Wohl said. The burglarized small businesses include three local hair salons - Salon 360 at 1938 State; and Yunique Hair Studio at 2002 State were both broken into early Sunday morning. A burglary at nearby Tabitha's Hair Design at 113 Fir Street was discovered Tuesday morning as police investigated the burglary at the Olympia Honey Baker.
A fifth burglary, also reported Sunday morning, occurred at Marjean Swartling's chiropractor's office at 1920 State Avenue.
Employees at Marjean Swartling's, Salon 360 and Yunique Hair Studio all reported that the suspect senselessly vandalized their businesses. Michael Lerch, owner of Salon 360 said he arrived to the shop on Sunday to find shampoo and conditioner sprayed on the walls, floors and mirrors, and paperwork scattered on the floors. The burglar stole only the small change that was left in the register, but made sure to rip holes in the seats of the salon chairs where clients sit, he added.
"They thrashed my shop," Lerch said.
Lori Marrazzo of Yunique Hair Studio said the suspect tore apart her cash register and sprayed the entire salon's floors and walls with a fire extinguisher. An employee at Marjean Swartling's reported similar gratuitous vandalism.
A stylist at Tabitha's Hair Design said they have to replace a stolen computer with all of their clients' histories and appointments set for the rest of 2013. "We're just working blind right now," Tabitha's stylist Christine Wendlendt said.
Tabitha's front door was also ripped from its hinges, Wendlendt added.
Julie Robinson of Olympia Honey Bakery said she considers herself lucky that a neighbor called police when he saw the man trying to break down her door in the alleyway behind her business. She said she is going to give the neighbor a loaf of bread when she closes Tuesday. The neighbor, a local bartender who had just returned home when he saw the burglary, declined being identified by name due to the fact that the suspect has not yet been caught.
The neighbor said Tuesday that the suspect swore and ran when he realized he had been spotted. "He had a cue-ball head," the neighbor said of the suspect.
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445 firstname.lastname@example.org