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Police hope video will lead them to 'professional' burglar (+video)

Published: Thursday, Sept. 20 2012 4:14 p.m. MDT

Still from a security camera video that captured a burglar disabling security feeds a a TJ Maxx earlier this week. Investigators believe he may be connected to other recent crimes.

Security footage courtesy of Cottonwood Heights Police.

Enlarge photo»

MIDVALE — Investigators believe a "professional" burglar who broke into TJ Maxx earlier this week may be connected to other recent crimes.

Over the weekend, someone entered TJ Maxx, 6995 S. 1300 East, by cutting through the roof, disabling the alarm system, cutting through a wall to reach a safe, using a drill or saw to open the safe and taking an undisclosed amount of money.

Initially it was thought that surveillance video of the burglar didn't exist because he disabled the cameras and smashed the computer they were recording to, said Cottonwood Heights Police Sgt. Mark Askerlund. But it turned out that the video was stored on a backup server at the company's corporate office.

The video shows a black adult male with a mustache and wire-rimmed glasses, about 6 feet tall and 200 pounds, going about the room disabling items. Askerlund said the man appeared to know what he was doing in the video as opposed to just pulling wires at random.

The burglary was very similar to one at Michael's Arts and Crafts, 1128 E. Fort Union Blvd., in July. A hole was cut through a wall to reach a safe in that incident, too, Askerlund said.

There are several other similar recent burglaries, including one near the Utah-Wyoming border. Detectives were working Thursday to determine if they were all committed by the same person.

Askerlund said one thing that investigators have determined is the burglar is not a former TJ Maxx employee.

"But we don't know if he's connected with the business in any other way, whether he was involved in remodeling or a subcontractor," Askerlund said. "He knows right what room to drop into, he goes right to disable the computer, disables the video cameras. It almost leads you to believe he knows the layout of the building."

Since the video's release, Askerlund said his department had received a few tips,  but investigators "haven't been able to substantiate anything yet."

Anyone with information on the burglary is asked to call police at 801-944-7100.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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