Two prominent Pleasanton businesses burgled

The identification of this suspect, taken from surveillance video at Virginia Twins Garden Market, is being sought by authorities.

The identification of this suspect, taken from surveillance video at Virginia Twins Garden Market, is being sought by authorities.

Pleasanton Police Department is investigating the burglaries of two prominent Pleasanton businesses, Virginia Twins Garden Market and Center Pharmacy.

Virginia Twins Garden Market located at 1402 Oaklawn Drive W. was robbed twice in a span of a week with an approximate loss of $25,000. The first burglary on August 11 involved one man with a camouflage backpack who made eight trips in and out of the property from 12:23 a.m. until 2:22 a.m. According to the owner of Virginia Twins, Catie Blaha, the thief went into the barn and took tools and garden equipment including a chainsaw and drill.

Blaha said that she knew from the security video footage that the man was casing the main building by looking inside all the windows to see what was there to steal. Blaha said because of his actions they were prepared for another hit by the thief.

The same man returned to Virginia Twins with an accomplice on Sunday, August 16. According to Blaha, the men broke into the main building and business office stealing computers, monitors, electronics and cleared out the cash register that held loose change. They also took birdhouses and birdbaths. But, the biggest loss was the Virginia Twins van which was emblazoned with the company logo, contact information and garden art.

“For whatever reasons the saddest part of this burglary is the loss of my van,” said Blaha. “I never thought that someone would try to take a vehicle out of here through these 7-foot locked gates.” To add further insult Blaha said that the men who stole the van did not even sell it for money but vandalized and torched it leaving it totaled two miles behind the market on Goodwin Street. “I mean it was senseless. I mean at least take it and go sell it and get money for it.”

“We got very lucky because the man did not steal the DVR leaving us with all the footage of the burglary,” said Blaha. “We got really lucky to have the footage that we gave to the police and have used on Facebook to help identify these men.”

Blaha said that she is amazed at how the community has rallied together to help solve this crime via her Virginia Twins Facebook page. More than 3500 people had viewed the video that shows both of the men in action stealing from the cash register and taking goods from the nursery. Some 145 people have shared the footage as well. Blaha posted comments to the community asking for help in identifying the men.

Late Tuesday afternoon, VirginiaTwins received an anonymous call from a private number from a concerned citizen that gave detailed information that could help investigators solve this case. Blaha turned the information over to the Pleasanton Police Department.

Blaha said that the number one concern for the Pleasanton Police Department and the Pleasanton City Council should be the welfare of the people and of local businesses. She said that the highest priority should be to get enough officers to adequately patrol the streets. Blaha said that she is committed to attending the next city council meeting to bring up the serious issue of crime in Pleasanton.

The Pleasanton Police Department expects to have information to release soon on the burglary of Center Pharmacy on August 11. The pharmacy was closed at the time of the burglary. The motive of the thieves was to steal pharmaceuticals. Pharmacy burglary and robbery are two of the fastest growing types of crime in the United States due to the rise of illegal street sales of pharmaceuticals.

Susan Phillips, owner of The Good Health Store, which is next door to Center Pharmacy, feels lucky that nothing but some trash bags were taken from her store. Phillips who viewed the surveillance footage for the Center Pharmacy burglary and the Virginia Twins burglary said that the thieves did not appear to be the same persons.

Investigators of the Pleasanton Police Department are currently following up on leads stemming from both burglaries at Virginia Twins and Center Pharmacy. “We are asking for the public to remain vigilant and to please report any suspicious activity, whether it be a vehicle parked somewhere that seems out of place or a person or persons who are acting suspicious. Please contact the Pleasanton Police Department at 830-569-3869.”

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