SOUTH KINGSTOWN – Nearly $9,000 worth of merchandise was stolen from the Verizon Wireless Store on Kingstown Road this past Sunday during a break in. Police are still searching for a suspect.
South Kingstown Police Capt. Joel Ewing-Chow was able to confirm that as of Thursday morning, no arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing.
On Sunday at 3:49 a.m., Patrolman Samuel Tighe was dispatched to the storefront due to a report of a commercial alarm, typically indicating issues with the front door or the motion sensor. When he arrived, Tighe found a large hole in the glass windowpane of the front door near the lock hatch. Detailed in his narrative of the incident, Tighe reported that there and no activity inside.
While waiting for backup, Tighe searched the surrounding area for activity but found none. He and fellow Patrolman William Howarth also found no one inside the store during their search.
Three additional officers were also dispatched to help search the surrounding neighborhood while Tighe and Howarth spoke with store owner Donald Somer. Upon his arrival, Somer walked through the space with Tighe and Sgt. Jerome Gillen pointing out items he suspected stolen.
In all, 10 cell phones were listed in the official incident report. All but one of the phones were valued at $900 apiece.
Somer was able to provide police with surveillance footage from the time of the robbery, which shows a suspect entering the store at approximately 3:45 a.m. and leaving the store exactly two minutes later. During this short window, surveillance shows that the suspect only pulled items from the front of the store and never entered the back rooms.
From what could be seen on the surveillance footage, police are looking for a slightly overweight, white man who'd been wearing a black sweatshirt with a lime-green lining, a black mask, long pants and gloves at the time of the robbery. Police are unsure of what type of tool the suspect used to break the glass.
While in the store, the suspect went straight to the main display rack and systematically cut each phone off the connected tether, removing them from the mounts. Three of the 11 phones cut away were fake, however, which the suspect quickly realized and discarded as he continued to ransack the store. The suspect moved onto another display and cut another phone away, while also grabbing four or six boxes of merchandise.
After doing all this in just two minutes, the suspect fled the store and appears to have gotten away in a vehicle parked in the north end of the parking lot. The only thing left was what spot of coolant on the pavement where he'd been parked.