Alarming trend of West Plaza neighborhood break-ins disturbs neighbors and business owners

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Multiple break-ins in the West-Plaza neighborhood over the past few days have residents and businesses worried about the alarming trend.

Those who live in the area, and people who own businesses that have been targeted this week are now urging others to call police if they see something suspicious.

“I think this is a very tight-knit neighborhood, and we all do look out for each other,” said John Milone, who owns Johnny Jo’s Pizzeria.

He’s been open about five years, and said it is typically a safe area, but Thursday morning he got a message that made his stomach turn.

“A manager came in at 8 o’clock in the morning, and texted me a picture of our place broken into,” Milone said. “The lock was actually busted open.”

He said he’s not sure if it was someone just scoping it out, or if they’ve ever been there before. Only some things were moved around, as he doesn’t keep any cash here overnight.

“Nothing was taken though, it looks like they came in, looked in a couple of areas where they thought money may be, and got out, maybe in a hurry,” Milone described.

But the owner of Journeyman Cafe, just a block down, wasn’t as lucky.

He said the cafe was broken into on Thursday morning as well. Only cash was stolen, nothing was destroyed or vandalized other than the safe and drawer.

“It was scary to know that it happened, that’s any business owner’s worst fear,” added Milone.

Some concerned people in the West Plaza neighborhood have reported residential break-ins as well. Police say there has been an uptick in burglaries in the past two weeks in the area.

The home burglaries involve the suspect knocking on the front door and then kicking in the back door. There has also been a second-floor apartment broken into.

Police want to remind everyone to keep your apartment balcony doors locked to be safe – no matter what floor you live on. Now, those who live and work in the area fear this is a growing trend.

“It makes me wonder, it makes me want to beef up security,” said Milone. “An option is putting up a garage door over here, but I don’t want this area to look like it’s devalued.”

Some people are suggesting arranging a neighborhood watch in shifts to be safe.

If you have any information call TIPS Hotline at (816) 474-8477 (TIPS).