Weekend burglaries

Some dowtown business operators are dealing with broken locks, missing cash and disillusionment after a string of business break-ins this weekend.

Virginia Stranberg, an administrative assistant at Peninsula Services, said when she arrived for work on Monday morning, she went to put her key in the lock and discovered the lock was gone.

“There was no lock on the door, and the lights were still out,” Stranberg said.

Stranberg said she was grateful her husband was with her that morning because she was a bit leery about going into the store by herself.

“My husband came inside with me to make sure nobody was in here,” she said.

Peninsula Services, located on Pacific Avenue, is an non-profit office supply store. All the proceeds go to employment and job placement services for adults with severe disabilities.

While Stranberg is puzzled as to why her store would be targeted for a break-in, what confused her more is what the thieves actually took: cash and a little black flashlight with batteries.

In addition to breaking and/or stealing the door lock, the thieves also broke the bottom of the cash register and ransacked the office.

“It just makes me mad,” Stranberg said.

At Metropolis the Gallery, Kathleen Storey said she discovered the same scenario when she arrived at work Monday morning. The gallery’s lock also was broken and some cash was missing.

“They broke a lock on a file cabinet, but they didn’t touch any of the art,” she said. “I’m very grateful they didn’t take any art.”

Storey was in the gallery on Sunday night at 8 p.m. to collect paperwork — she is in charge of the gallery’s books — and everything was normal then. For that reason, she said the break-in occured between then and 8 a.m. Monday morning.

Both businesses have replaced their locks with heftier ones and are taking additional precautions.

“We are very fortunate; it could have been much worse,” Storey said.

In all, nine businesses were broken into in downtown Bremerton and East Bremerton, said Bremerton Police Chief Rob Forbes.

Detectives investigating the incident believe the break-ins may be connected with some that occured in Silverdale. Bremerton detectives are working with Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputies and have some leads in the case, Forbes said.

The leads have come from good cooperation between the businesses and the police department, Forbes said.

Anyone with any information on the break-ins can call Bremerton Det. Martin Knott at (360) 4780-5228.

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