Northeast Philadelphia rooftop burglar on the loose

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Northeast Phila. rooftop burglar on the loose. Jim Gardner reports during Action News at 11 p.m. on August 8, 2017.

Police are searching for a man wanted in a rash of burglaries in Northeast Philadelphia.

The suspect appears to be carrying out some 'Houdini-like' break-ins.

"We have ourselves a rooftop burglar. He's getting up on the roof and breaking in through the air conditioning ductwork," Philadelphia Police Lt. Dennis Rosenbaum said.

Among the businesses hit was Tony's Kitchen at 4322 Megargee Street. He broke in by ripping out the exhaust fan that was over the back door of the restaurant.

"Came in and trashed the restaurant, got away with some stuff, took a laptop," owner Tony Hughes said.

He also hit Benny the Bum's in the 9900 block of Bustleton Avenue. Manager Bret Levy says he failed to gain entry through the roof, but he caused $15,000 in damage.

"The guy that tried to burglarize our place removed three of our air conditioning units, actually just took them apart, and he moved our exhaust in the middle of the kitchen," Levy said.

That same night, the burglar also tried to make entry into Wacky Zaki's Pizza in the 10000 block of Verree Road. The staff knew something was wrong when they came to work the next day.

"We didn't know what's going on cause we just came in, it felt so crazy hot. It was like 150 degrees, so we knew something was wrong. We checked the roof and we found the exhaust all damaged," owner Jason Zaki said.

In all, the burglar has hit nine businesses in the far northeast, bars and restaurants and even a Goodwill thrift store on Bustleton Avenue.

"He only gets in to a couple of the places. He doesn't get much. It's definitely not worth the effort that he's putting in. He's obviously a small frame guy to get down into the ducts," Rosenbaum said.

Anyone who may recognize the suspect in the surveillance images is asked to contact police.

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