PEORIA COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD) — Police are investigating a series of early morning business break-ins in Peoria County.
Officers confirm at least four businesses were targets for burglary Wednesday morning.
Surveillance footage shows four masked and hooded vandals smashing the windows of TequilaRia Wine and Spirits on North Prospect Road in Peoria during an attempted burglary.
“Just thinking about if they had broken in, the damage they could’ve caused to my store,” Christell Frausto, owner of TequilaRia, said. “It’s disheartening.”
Frausto said the last time the area’s business owners saw this kind of boldness was during the city’s civil unrest back in the summer of 2020.
“Unfortunately we’ve been here before,” Frausto said. “But we’re grateful for the Peoria Police Department to follow up with us.”
Investing in cameras and locks for her store, she said the precautions she took helped keep the criminals at bay on the outside.
“Because we had reinforced walls and windows, they weren’t able to break through the door or the glass,” Frausto said.
But other businesses in the county weren’t as lucky.
Peoria Police spokesperson Semone Roth said at around 3:42 a.m. Wednesday morning, patrolling officers noticed a group of juveniles leaving a Shell gas station in the area of McClure and Prospect.
She said the juveniles fled offices and the area. Shortly afterwards, the owners of a business in the 3600 Block of North Prospect reported a burglary.
Roth said officers found the front door opened and an undetermined amount of cash stolen.
Peoria County Sheriff Chris Watkins said they’re also investigating an early morning burglary at another Shell gas station on 5533 East Knox Street which may be connected to a smoke shop burglary in Chillicothe.
Police said all investigations are on-going. Frausto is advising other business owners to have preventative plans in place.
“Having a good business plan in place,” Frausto said. “Security for your location, your business, a good communication with the local police officers to patrol your business and honestly also talking to the youth. We want to prevent this desperation or greed.”