Police on Thursday said they were looking for a man dubbed the “snake burglar,” who wriggled his way through multiple Riverside businesses and fled with thousands of dollars.
Several incidents were reported recently in the 10200 block of Indiana Avenue, and investigators think he may have broken into up to six businesses so far, according to Riverside Police Department Officer Javier Cabrera.
In one case last Friday, surveillance video showed the man slithering on his belly at the Rustic Roots salon around 5 a.m. after apparently getting into the business through a rooftop fire escape.
He apparently entered and exited the business through a fire escape, making off with approximately $8,000, according to Cabrera.
Lori Hajj, co-owner of Rustic Roots, said the figure is even higher when stolen supplies and merchandise are included.
“Over 10 grand between cash, product, tools, all of it,” Hajj said.
Another incident took place at a veterinary clinic about a mile away. Police say the same burglar entered by kicking out a window pane, then once again began crawling on the floor. He was inside for about 10 minutes, but apparently left without taking anything after triggering a motion sensor.
About a week before, the same individual is believed to have broken into Enzo’s Pizza, according to Cabrera.
An employee said the intruder rifled through their desk and threw stuff around, then made off with about $360 in cash, as well as a beer.
Three other businesses may have been hit by the same suspect, authorities said, but that is still under investigation.
Suzanna Velarde, owner of Body Tan Salon and Spa, believes her business was also struck by this burglar.
“He crawled all the way on the floor to the register. He took all the money,” she said.
Velarde added that it’s not the first time she’s been burglarized, but this incident leaves her “scared.”
“I couldn’t even sleep at night,” Velarde said.