Deputies search for suspect who hit four stores

Posted at 6:29 PM, Jan 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-01 18:29:40-05

Some Carrollwood business owners spent this New Year’s Day cleaning up.

Thieves hit small businesses in a shopping center at Dale Mabry Highway and Linebaugh Avenue, breaking out glass and kicking in doors.

When employees of four small businesses at the Carrollwood Center first showed up for work this morning, they noticed that their front doors had been smashed open and someone had been inside.

Sweeping up broken glass and talking to detectives was not how these small business owners wanted to start the new year.

“These are all our local businesses. We hate to see this happen,” said Courtney Horner, who says she patronizes almost all of the businesses involved.  

Deputies said suspects targeted the well-lighted shopping center on Carrollwood's busiest highway sometime after a bar in the shopping center closed at two a.m. and before stores opened this morning.

The businesses hit included Mr. Empanada.

“There was nothing here to steal, because we don't leave any valuables here,” said owner Albert Leon.

New York Nails was another target.

“It's a nail shop. We've got a lot of polish. It’s the wrong place to hit,” owner Quand Ho said.

At the China Garden restaurant, suspects made off with less than a $80 left in the register.

They tore up two cash drawers and broke the glass in the front door to get inside.

Crooks bypassed a designer handbag store, a Publix and a fully stocked consignment shop.

“I'm just happy they didn't break in here,” said Plato’s Closet employee Katrina Morris.

She was trying to help deputies determine if her store’s surveillance footage could assist in apprehending suspects.

Images were captured on video at the Zoom Tan salon, where not even a bottle of lotion was taken.

Deputies hope they will help them crack the case.

Store owners will have to pay thousands to repair all the damages, but they say that won't get in the way of them having a great 2016.

“We're open. We're still gonna go. Nothing's gonna stop us,” said Leon.

So far, there have not been any arrests in the case.

If you have information, you are urged to contact the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.