SEBASTIAN — For the first time in recent history, the Sebastian Police Department is investigating a rooftop burglary within the city limits.
It’s a case that might be part of a larger trend state officials are seeing, according to Sebastian Police spokesman Officer Steve Marcinik. State law enforcement agencies are noticing an increase in such burglaries and are working with locals around the state to determine if there is a connection. Earlier this week, the Sebastian Police Department responded to a burglary at the Dollar Tree at the 1900 block of US 1. According to investigators, the burglar made entry via the rooftop by going through an air vent.
What makes the case even more curious, according to Officer Marcinik, is that the burglar escaped the store the same way he or she came in – through the roof.
“It would have been an easier escape,” Officer Marcinik said of going through either the front or back door to the store.
He added that it would make sense for the burglar not to go through the front because most businesses use a deadbolt lock on the front door.
The burglar made off with an undisclosed amount of cash, but nothing else, the police department said.
Officer Marcinik said that it appears the burglar undertook a huge effort for a small take.
“It’s a big question mark,” he said.
Investigators determined that the business adjacent to the Dollar Tree was nearly burglarized in the same manner. They discovered that screws had been removed from the air vent on the top of that business, but the burglar did not gain access to the store.
“It would be total speculation,” Officer Marcinik said when asked why the burglar did not get inside.
One possibility is that the burglar was spooked off. Another could be that the burglar decided not to break into that store after all.
While it is possible that this commercial rooftop burglary could be an isolated incident, it could also be part of a chain of rooftop burglars throughout the state.
Officer Marcinik said that all law enforcement agencies are working to determine if the cases are connected.
So far, though, it looks like Sebastian is the only city in Indian River County to be targeted by a rooftop burglar recently.
Indian River County Sheriff’s Office Director Jeff Luther said that his investigators could not recall any such burglaries.
Vero Beach Police spokesman Officer John Morrison said about the same.
“I can’t even remember the last one we had,” he said.
Fellsmere Police Chief Scott Melanson said that the last known rooftop burglary he could recall was eight or nine years ago.
He said a burglar gained entry through the roof into the gas station/convenience store at the corner of County Road 512 and Broadway Street.
Sebastian spokesman Officer Marcinik said that business owners, employees and residents should remain vigilant and report anything suspicious. And, he said, if anyone has information regarding the Dollar Tree burglary, they should call Detective Sgt. Bill Grimmich at the Sebastian Police Department at (772) 589-5233.