HAZEL DELL, Wash. (KOIN) — Adawn Alapai’s pizza and gaming shop had an unwelcome visitor a couple weeks ago around 2:30 a.m. A burglar snuck up the stairs, broke a window and climbed in.
But that’s when he spotted a video camera that also spotted him. His head peeks around the corner for just a second.
“Just when that camera there caught him is when the alarm sounded,” Alapai told KOIN 6 News.
The burglar didn’t get a thing.
But someone has been breaking into businesses along Highway 99 in Hazel Dell, more frequently in recent weeks. At least a dozen places were hit, and police believe it is the same burglar.
Authorities recently made an arrest but aren’t confirming the person in custody is responsible for all the break-ins.
About 2 weeks before Alapai’s pizzeria was broken into, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office posted pictures on their Facebook page about a long-haired suspect who broke into a Popeye’s restaurant about 18 blocks north.
In that case, the burglar broke some windows but could not get into the safe — and left with nothing.
The break-ins along Highway 99 left police baffled and frustrated for weeks.
“I had no idea” the rash of burglaries was even happening, Alapai told KOIN 6 News. “Our picture is so grainy of him that it’s hard to really see his facial features.”
But police caught a break on March 8 when a transient was caught trying to break into an Enterprise rental car business.
Authorities said the man they arrested looks like the suspect in the grainy surveillance photos.
Alapai said he hopes the burglar is in custody. “I didn’t realize that he was hitting other places. That is scary.”