30 businesses hit in burglary spree

LAMBERTVILLE, N.J. - October 2, 2008 - "They popped a window open in the back and slid through the back kitchen and went right for the safe and took the safe," said Paul Eschallier, the owner of Bell's Tavern in Lambertville.

There, thieves recently got away with $37,000. His is one of more than 30 restaurants, bars and businesses here and in New Hope and Solebury that have been robbed in the last several months.

"It's quick hit burglaries. In and out. Hit the cash registers, bust open a safe," said Chief Dominick Bellizzie of the Solebury Twp. Police.

Another victim: Glenn Ricci's AKA Salon in Solebury.

"They stole charge information, checks, cash, a little bit of jewelry," Ricci said.

"It's scary. You don't feel safe sometimes at work. Especially the girls that work at night I know when they leave, they're nervous," said salon manager Nancy Housel.

Area police are working together and believe the thieves are local. They've retrieved forensic evidence that may help indentify the burglars.

"We've got some fingerprints, some hair samples from one scene," said Sgt. John Goss of New Hope Police. "We've sent them off to the state police crime lab for DNA analysis. We're waiting for those results to come back."

Tom Walsh owns the 4 Seasons car wash on Route 202, another business that was hit. He says people in this area, considered so safe, have to wake up to reality.

"Now you have to think you're living somewhere where there's more crime, and it's happening now more often than not," Walsh said.

In an effort to stop the robberies, police from all three towns will be meeting Thursday night in Lambertville to review the cases and exchange information.

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