Damien Horne, who owns "Hoppy Endings" on Litchford Road in north Raleigh, says when the alarm went off in the middle of the night on April 30 he left his nearby home and rushed to the scene at Litchford Village.
"I was here within three minutes," Horne said. "Nobody was here. He was in and out that quick."
His insurance company won't cover the loss of cash.
"We were going to take a trip, a family trip. We had to cancel that," Horne said. "We had to change a couple things around just so we could survive this week, order merchandise."
Horne says five other businesses in the shopping center were also broken into that night.
Four days later, Horne's friend David Huffman who owns "Brown's Billiards" a few miles away on Atlantic Springs Road called to say his bar was broken into as well.
The thief took cash proceeds and a jar full of quarters for cancer victims. The two business owners compared surveillance video.
They both said there isn't a shadow of a doubt that it's the same suspect.
They say investigators have told them the thief has hit businesses across the Capital City.
Officially Raleigh police will only say they're investigating a possible connection to "several" other break-ins.
Huffman says one owner told him employees were in his business during a break-in and the suspect was surprised and fled.
"So he's not a violent man he's just, in my opinion, he's a petty thief who is just trying to get a quick dollar," said Huffman.
Both Huffman and Horne say they hope someone who knows the suspect will turn him in soon.
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