Man accused of breaking into more than 30 south Charlotte businesses

CHARLOTTE — A man accused of breaking into more than 30 south Charlotte businesses has been arrested.

The places impacted include nail and tanning salons, restaurants, and ice cream shops. Many of them are small, family-owned businesses.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said Antonito Smith hit 33 businesses over a period of eight months. Many of them are in the same area of south Charlotte.

CMPD said the 19-year-old broke into the Walgreens in the Park Road Shopping Center last month and used a crow bar to try to pry the ATM open. When police caught him, they recognized his clothes and tied him to dozens of other cases, including a break-in at Maria’s Mexican Restaurant in February.

The business owners told Channel 9′s Joe Bruno they’re grateful an arrest was made.

“It feels great to know they arrested somebody who was breaking into businesses,” said Jessica Duenas, who’s with the restaurant.

The graphic below illustrates the dates and locations of the break-ins.

CMPD said most of the time, Smith got into the businesses by smashing a door or windows after hours.

Investigators said Smith allegedly took cash, beer and gift cards from the Park Road Shopping Center Walgreens. He’s accused of taking cash and beer from a Family Dollar on South Boulevard. And police said he smashed the front glass door of the Punta Cana Restaurant with a pry tool.

At Maria’s, Jessica Duenas said Smith is accused of smashing through a window and taking booze. They are happy no one was seriously hurt.

“It’s frustrating, definitely, for customers,” she said. “A broken window, wind coming in.”

The warrant said Smith is homeless and was wearing the same clothes in all the crimes because that’s all he has. Shoppers are surprised he managed to hit so many places over such a long period of time without being caught.

Duenas hopes it never happens again.

“It’s really sad,” she said.

According to the warrant, Smith told police he is homeless, times are tough and he needed money. He’s in jail on $1,000 secured bond.

(WATCH BELOW: Families who lost loved ones to repeat offenders plea for change)

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