By Conor McCue

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a “rash of smash and grabs.” Since June 21, investigators have responded to 20 burglaries, mostly at stores in strip malls in the western part of the county.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Last Thursday, signs calling attention to security cameras were not enough to deter two masked intruders at the Heritage Place Shopping Center. Seven stores in the strip mall were broken into.

Patti Messeran, owner of Heritage Cards & Gifts, has security camera footage of two people wearing hoodies and masks using a rock to break the glass door.

(credit: CBS)

“They basically ran in, took my register drawer that’s open, $100 in it, and ran out,” Masseran said. “That’s all they did.”

It’s the same story for six other neighboring businesses. While some have already repaired their doors, Amy Haze of City Consignment Boutique said her door, glass, lock, rugs and electronics are all still damaged.

“I had a sign on the door that said ‘No cash left on premises’ hoping it would serve as a deterrent. It didn’t, obviously,” Haze said.

(credit: CBS)

The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office told CBS4 there was a similar rash of burglaries at the same time last year. Of the nearly 100 across Colorado’s Front Range, some were in the same area as the recent incidents. Investigators are revisiting the cases from last year with all the recent activity.

“All the businesses in the Centennial area right now are kind of under attack,” said Masseran.

Masseran and her fellow business owners are worried but not defeated. Somehow and in some way they hope it will all be over soon.

“It will stop one of these days, I know it will,” Masseran said. “People have a conscience.”

Conor McCue