SAPD: Blow torch burglary suspect may be linked to other crimes

Several local Target stores hit recently

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio police are investigating whether a 20-year-old man who was arrested after allegedly attempting to break into a North Side Target store may have been behind several similar crimes recently.

Sgt. Michael Wilson said other Target stores in the city have been hit in the same way: by someone using a blow torch to cut through a security door on the back side of the businesses.

Once inside, he said the criminals have stolen thousands of dollars' worth of merchandise.

On Friday morning, however, police stopped what they believe was one such attempt before it could get that far.

"He was already in the process of blow-torching the back door and had approximately an eight-inch gash in the door already," Wilson said.

He said the suspect ran off, though, when he noticed officers arriving at the scene, near Loop 410 and Blanco Road, shortly before 3:30 a.m.

Police searched the area on foot and from a helicopter and nearly came up empty-handed.

Wilson said a man who happened to be in the area and listening to a police scanner heard what was going on. He told officers he saw the suspect running toward North Park mall, and they quickly found him.

The 20-year-old suspect was taken into custody. It was not clear right away what charges he would face.

Wilson said detectives, meanwhile, recovered a trail of evidence from the crime.

"Along the route, we found tools he was using to break into the location, (including) some goggles. He left his blow torch here," Wilson said.

Detectives will be working in the coming weeks, he said, to determine whether the man who they arrested will also face charges in connection with the other burglaries.

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