Don Jose’s burglary latest in rash of thefts

A burglary early Sunday morning of Don Jose’s Restaurant on Pioneer Avenue is the latest in a string of burglaries and thefts this fall that have plagued Homer businesses from East End Road to the Homer Spit. Homer Police have made some arrests, including three men and a woman for a burglary last month of a dentist’s office on Grubstake Avenue, and are tracking evidence in other cases.

“These things take time,” said Homer Police Sgt. Lary Kuhns of the ongoing investigation. “We’re going to stick at it and stay at it.”

Another burglary discovered Monday morning of Elements Hair Salon on Main Street is believed to be connected to the Don Jose’s burglary, Kuhns said.

In the Don Jose’s case, the thief or thieves stole a large safe that police suspect might have taken several people to move it, Kuhns said. Video surveillance at Don Jose’s caught the image of a thief entering the restaurant at about 3:45 a.m. and 8 a.m. Dec. 7. That’s the fourth safe stolen or broken into this fall, Kuhns said.

In another recent theft, police charged Eric Haughey, 37, for second-degree theft, a felony, and fourth-degree theft. Police allege he stole a $7,000 trailer from the Homer Spit waiting to be taken to Seldovia and a tailgate from a yard near the Homer Airport. 

Kuhns said police think most if not all of the burglaries are drug related.

“Most of the times, the ones we arrest, they’re all users,” he said.

Police have stepped up patrols of Homer businesses, Kuhns said, not only to deter crime, but to help narrow down the time of a burglary in the event businesses are broken into. Police advise businesses to wipe down counters, cash registers and door knobs to aid in taking fingerprints in the event of a burglary.

“It’s too bad we’ve come to this point,” Kuhns said.

Business owners also should keep as little cash on hand overnight and make frequent bank deposits, Kuhns said.

Police also continue to investigate the murder of Mark Matthews, the man found dead on July 28, 2013, on the Poopdeck Trail near Hazel Avenue. Kuhns put out a call for information regarding that case, and reminded anyone with tips that a $10,000 reward remains in place. Tips on those crimes can be phoned in to 235-3150 or anonymously through Crimestoppers at 800-478-4258 (478-HALT).

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.

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