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‘People are afraid’: Surveillance video captures daylight break-in at Tacoma business

TACOMA, Wash. — Several Tacoma residents are frustrated after surveillance videos captured a man breaking into a car and allegedly stealing cars in broad daylight in Tacoma.

ONE-STOP DENTISTRY:

KIRO 7 News spoke Leah Alo who has been working at One Stop Dentistry for about eight years.

The business is located on 6th Avenue in Tacoma.

Alo showed surveillance video to KIRO 7 News that captured a man peeking into people’s vehicles in their parking lot after he had arrived in a gray vehicle Wednesday at about 3 p.m.

Moments later, the video footage captures the man smashing a car window and stealing a bag.

“He could have been doing more than just breaking into a car,” Alo said. “What if he approached your car and somebody’s in it?”

“We have a coworker that doesn’t feel safe anymore,” she added. “And how do you make them feel safe?”

KIRO 7 News spoke with Denise Quesenbery, a worker at One Stop Dentistry, who said she saw the aftermath of the break-in.

“My coworker’s window was broken out,” she said.

The suspect stole her worker’s lunchbox, Quesenbery shared.

It was later found nearby the business.

“Everyone works hard for what they have,” she added. “And you feel violated.”

And the business has seen other types of crimes over the years, including bullets ripping through its windows and a suspect(s) destroying security cameras.

Alo said security cameras alone are not enough to keep criminals away.

“They’ve broken our cameras in the front of the building. We’ll get them fixed, put them back up and they’ll break them,” said Alo. “I feel like you should feel safe at your place of work.”

Alo said her coworker recently filed a report with police about her damaged vehicle Friday. KIRO 7 News contacted the Tacoma Police Department to get more details about this case. A spokesperson said they had no details as of Friday afternoon.

COMMUNITY IMPACT:

Dr. Mostafa Norooz, the owner of One Stop Dentistry, said, “The feeling of invasion to your security, to your space to me is worse than anything.”

He told KIRO 7 News he has seen a series of crimes in the area that affected several nearby businesses.

“It affects the whole community,” he said. “How many times we have to worry ‘oh, are they going to break into my car?’”

“How many times you have to think you should buy the next security measure to prevent the crime happens to us?” he continued.

Norooz’s business is located just a couple blocks away from Tacoma General Hospital, a busy area on the north end of Tacoma.

“We’re all healthcare workers, and still we got to be worried about our health,” he said. “That’s not good.”

Norooz said many of his workers are often concerned for their safety, with many thinking, “That nagging voice behind your mind that I’m going to work, am I going to be okay?”

“If you see something, say something,” he stressed.

ADDITIONAL SAFETY MEASURES:

Workers at One Stop Dentistry told KIRO 7 News the business installed additional safety measures and protocols to keep its customers and workers safe, including locked doors.

“Now everything is locked. You have to push a button,” Alo said. “It’s affected us big time.”

For customers to get inside the business, they are required to push a button located on the outside of the building so an employee could allow them inside.

“We’re coming out of pocket when we’re trying to work, and make a living for ourselves and our families,” Alo said. “And not everyone has the funds to fix stuff like this.”

Workers now often ask each other if they have emptied their vehicles of any valuable possessions.

“We made sure we did our check-in and ‘did everybody clean out their cars?’” said Alo.

SUSPECT’S VEHICLE CAUGHT ON CAMERA ALLEGEDLY STOLEN:

KIRO 7 News spoke with Jovana Netelenbos, who said the suspect’s vehicle captured in One Stop Dentistry’s surveillance video, belongs to her family.

She shared a statement with us about the alleged incident:

Our car was stolen out of the parking lot at the hospital where my husband works as a health care worker. The thieves had stolen the car less than 5 minutes after my husband arrived at work - which makes you wonder if they were watching him. They had to notice he was in scrubs and worked at the hospital and wouldn’t be out anytime soon... it just adds to the creep factor when someone steals your property and invades your space. On top of this unfortunate event, the thieves used the car they stole to then go all around Tacoma to steal more cars. It’s frustrating for us as I’m sure for the others that have been affected by this group who are stealing cars. we just hope more work will be done by local authorities to get these car theft crimes under control. As of right now, our vehicle has not been recovered.

KIRO 7 News contacted the Tacoma Police Department to get more details about this case. We’re still waiting to hear back.

If you have seen this vehicle, you’re asked to call the Tacoma Police Department at (253) 287-4455.

SAME SUSPECT ALLEGEDLY STOLE FAMILY’S VAN:

KIRO 7 News also spoke with Michael Kearns, who said the man caught in One Stop Dentistry’s surveillance video, stole his family’s van Wednesday.

He said surveillance video at Life Christian Academy and Life Center Church in Tacoma captured the theft.

The family’s Kia Sedona included several personal items inside that cannot be replaced, including items that were passed down from generations, he shared.

The vehicle’s Washington license plate is BIP5789.

If you have seen this vehicle, you’re asked to call the Tacoma Police Department at (253) 287-4455.

STEPS TO PROTECT YOUR PROPERTY:

KIRO 7 News contacted the Tacoma Police Department to learn about the best practices to protect people’s property.

A spokesperson for the department shared several tips.

“The one thing I can say is that those who engage in criminal activity look for opportunities,” wrote Detective William Muse. “They look at opportunities to take something of value; look at opportunities to commit criminal acts without witnesses; and look for opportunities to not get caught.”

He also encouraged people to not leave any valuable items inside their vehicles, including laptops, tablets, personal bags, purses, wallets, cameras, boxes, shopping bags, etc.

This also includes items that may look valuable, he stressed.

“The gym bag in the backseat of the car the owner knows contains sweaty athletic clothes doesn’t seem theft-worthy, but the suspect does not know that,” Muse wrote.

Muse also urged people to lock their vehicles and homes. He also recommended people to use anti-theft devices inside their vehicles to deter criminals.

“If a person is familiar with how a particular car is stolen but sees a Club on the steering wheel, you’re taking away those opportunities I told you about earlier,” he said. “A club means the end of the opportunity to commit a crime without getting seen or getting caught later because the work required to steal that car is not worth it.”

“They are less expensive than full-on surveillance systems, but they do so much to eliminate opportunities,” he added.