Two more Long Beach businesses were burglarized in the past two days, following a recent string of crimes that have targeted mostly small businesses such as restaurants and shops.
Smartphones, tablets and other items were stolen from Soggy Dog, a dog grooming business near East Seventh Street and Cherry Avenue, on Sunday night, and from Holé Molé’s Obispo Avenue restaurant between closing time Monday night and opening Tuesday morning, people at the businesses said.
“The worst part of all is trying to function afterwards and pretend everything is normal,” Soggy Dog owner Tanyss Buchanan said Tuesday.
Long Beach police recently stepped up patrols and formed a special task force to investigate 23 commercial burglaries that took place in January and February, which they believe were committed by three organized groups, according to a news release the department issued Friday.
While Long Beach police have paid special attention to those 23 commercial burglaries because of how they’re linked, they are not the only commercial burglaries that have happened in the city this year. The Long Beach Police Department, though, has not been able to provide a specific tally for overall commercial burglaries reported in 2023.
The task force was formed Feb. 6, police spokesman Brandon Fahey said in an email. A list of the linked burglaries provided by the LBPD shows that 11 of the 23 occurred after that date. As of Friday, the last crime in the series police believe are connected was Feb. 15.
On Tuesday, a police spokesperson was unable to say whether the two most recent crimes have ties to the 23 other burglaries.
The news release also noted that in the past month, police have arrested seven people suspected involvement in three burglaries and a vandalism incident; those cases were not believed to be connected to the series of 23 related crimes.
“We believe our officers and burglary task force have been and are continuing to be successful in deterring additional burglaries,” Fahey said in the email, adding, “our officers have been working diligently to identify and apprehend suspects” including the seven noted earlier and three more arrested Tuesday.
On Tuesday, the two latest businesses targeted by burglars were trying to carry on as usual.
Holé Molé workers this morning encountered shattered glass from the front door and discovered three tablets and a phone had been taken, employee Rene Pozos said.
“It’s crazy,” Pozos said, adding that another Holé Molé location was broken into last month.
For Buchanan, it was the first burglary at her Seventh Street location — something she relocated from the East Village to get away from.
The thieves appeared to have picked the lock on the front door, then used a filing cabinet to haul away the phones and tablet she uses to talk to customers and book appointments, plus a cash register with small change in it and power tools.
A case of grooming clippers and blades — the tools of Buchanan’s trade — was missing too. “I cried when I saw that,” she said, but added that police found it dumped around the corner and returned it to her after taking photos and dusting for fingerprints.
She moved her shop in 2018 after repeated break-ins, she said, thinking the high traffic on Seventh Street would help ward off crime.
Buchanan estimated her losses around $1,200 and said Long Beach police officers who responded were attentive, thorough and polite. But she’s not sure how much the department can do to prevent more burglaries, which she thinks may be the result of drug addiction driving people to desperation.
“I do want small business owners like me to understand, you’re not safe,” she said.
“If it can happen to me, it can happen to you. Just be prepared.”
Staff writers Brandon Richardson and Fernando Haro Garcia contributed to this story.