UPD searches for Pita Pit thieves

Correction appended

Thieves that have carried out a pair of burglaries at the Pita Pit sandwich shop in Ivory Tower appear to be familiar with the store’s operations, University Police Chief Dolores Stafford said this week.

Burglars have taken more than $7,000 in cash and other items in the mid-February and early April burglaries. Despite video surveillance and UPD officers regularly patrolling the residence hall, the thieves have not been identified or apprehended.

“The persons responsible for the burglary appear to be familiar with both the building’s and the specific store’s operations,” Stafford said. “It appears that the suspects targeted times when the risk of being seen by witnesses was minimal. In both cases, no one was in the food court at the time of the burglaries, but the food court area was open.”

Stafford said that in the first burglary, the two thieves that broke into the store covered their faces while walking by security cameras. In the second burglary, the lone thief covered his face but had a light complexion and was wearing a dark baseball hat and dark jacket, Stafford said. On both occasions, the security gate used to secure the front of the store was bypassed, despite being locked.

“In the second case, we believe the individual had a key to the gate or the gate was not properly secured, as there was no apparent forced entry,” she said.

Daniel Corno, the owner of the GW Pita Pit, said he has no idea why his store is being targeted.

“We take quite a few security measures on our own, and truthfully this is not an issue we’ve had to deal with at any of our locations apart from this one,” Corno said. “If anything, it’s surprising given the hours we’re open. There are only six hours in the day that we’re not open.”

Correction appended

Though Corno and Stafford said Pita Pit is working with UPD to prevent further incidents, the management of Pita Pit is ultimately responsible for security because they lease the space from the University, Stafford said.

“One of the things we’ve done is stressed to the employees that they need to make sure they’re following all the security protocols so that we don’t have any lapses,” Corno said.

Increasing that security is important because the restaurant cannot remove or secure everything of value, Corno said. Because the business requires a bare minimum of cash on hand to operate, Corno and UPD are focusing on better securing the store.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: (April 16, 2009)

The Hatchet incorrectly used the words robbery and burglary interchangeably. The Pita Pit incidents were burglaries.

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