‘Somebody knows somebody’: Same 2 suspects burglarizing chain of South Sound coffee shops

PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — Pierce County deputies are looking for two suspects who broke into five coffee shops belonging to the same chain — Café Elite.

The company says its shops are being targeted more frequently. Last year, the chain lost $20,000 due to several break-ins, and now, less than a month into the new year, they’re already looking at a $10,000 loss.

The first burglary happened just after midnight Sunday at the Spanaway location off Pacific Avenue.

“We had a total of five stands that were hit. The thieves went from one stand to the next stand, to the next stand, working their way from Spanaway through Lakewood and then into Tacoma,” said Tim Irey, chief operating officer for Café Elite.

Two suspects were caught on camera using a saw to break in.

“They came in here and they stole some money — they sawed up the safe, they got in here,” said employee Amber Veltman.

Deputies say while one suspect was inside, the other was on the lookout.

Employees says thankfully the crimes happened after hours, but they they’re still unsettling because the shops have been targeted before.

“It’s not the first time. A year ago, we were broken into at seven stands,” said Irey.

One of those was an armed robbery.

“As time goes on, it seems like it’s getting worse and not better,” said Irey.

The company says it has changed their hours for the safety of their employees and has done upgrades to some of the coffee shops.

It’s also asking for the public’s help in locating the two suspects.

“Somebody knows somebody who probably knows these people are, and we need them to come forward,” said Irey.

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