A suspected burglar used the cover of fog and the element of surprise to break into a Kensington dry cleaner in operation for more than three decades, but the shop owner had a surprise of his own that could help police make an arrest.
The break-in happened last Thursday night at the Magic Touch Cleaners on Adams Avenue in Kensington.
The burglar took a great risk smashing the glass out of the front door but managed to get in and out with a pocket full of cash.
The element of surprise was on his side, but there was one other surprise he wasn't counting on -- a security camera hidden behind the counter, tucked away behind the cash register and pointed directly at the front door.
Magic Touch co-owner Ben Barazandeh said the security footage tells him two things.
“He knew where the cash register was and he had a plan,” Barazandeh said.
The video shows the burglar smashed the front door glass, crossed the lobby in a few strides, grabbed the cash register from under the counter and went back out the way he came, all in less than 10 seconds.
Magic Touch is a family-owned business that’s served Kensington for more than 30 years. Perhaps it's no surprise 15-year loyal customer Peter Dennehy discovered the broken glass on his way to the bank Friday morning then summoned police.
"It was really sad to see. I hate to see it happen to a local business,” Dennehy said.
The long-time Kensington resident said Adams Avenue is a well-traveled street during daylight hours, but gets very quiet after 10 p.m.
“I bet there was no one around. It was foggy that night, so it is possible that gave some additional cover,” he added.
Long-time customer Kassin Airola said Magic Touch’s service is too good to give up over a burglary but said maybe now she'll have to rethink coming by after dark.
"I was shocked. I've always felt really safe in this little town,” Airola said.
Thick plywood now temporarily replacing the glass. The shop owners said they’ll install metal bars over the windows and an alarm system in wake of the burglary. They’re also changing their policy about leaving cash in the drawer.
Police have yet to make any arrests. As they search, Magic Touch owners trying to notify businesses and neighbors in the area about the break-in via the NextDoor app.