Smash and grab burglar hits Pasco County small businesses

Smash and grab burglar hits 13 businesses

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. - "I got chills. I've never had this happen," said Stephen Tippie.

Tippie wants his customers to feel like family.

"We know your kids, your dogs and sell nothing but quality products," he said.

But the stranger who smashed through the door at Fancy Tails Exotic Pet Store won't be welcomed back. Surveillance video inside shows the man muscling a cash drawer open with a crowbar just 24-hours before the new pet store's grand opening.

"What if I was open already? What if I had cash in there? Cause I've been so used to the past, I've always left my cash," said Tippie.

The Pasco County Sheriff says the man or men responsible have struck 13 times this year targeting mom and pop businesses near U.S. 19 and State Road 52 in Hudson.

"They're only there for several minutes at the most. They're not spending a lot of time in there and they're getting out of there," said Sheriff Chris Nocco.

But there's plenty of surveillance video of the smash and grab suspect or suspects. Photos show who appears to be a stocky, white male about 30 to 45-years old who sometimes wears a knit cap.

"They must have kicked in the front door," said salon owner Joseph Michael.

And it's not just the broken windows and doors that are costing small business owners.

"It was quite a day because we couldn't let the customers in, had the cops in here dusting for fingerprints. Customers are waiting outside," said Michael.

"This is my heart, sweat and blood in this store. I mean I put everything into this," said Tippie.

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