Thieves targeting Niles Twp. businesses

Published 10:38 am Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Broken glass and missing cash registers have local law enforcement agencies on alert in Niles Township.

Lt. Rick Biggart, of the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, said a person or persons have broken into five businesses — most on or near South 11th Street — in Niles Township over the last couple months.

He thinks four of the five incidents are related.

“Most of these are auto parts places,” the detective said. “The M.O. (modus operandi) is they are smashing the front window and going in… stealing the cash register or the cash register drawer.”

The thieves are working quickly too.

Biggart said they are in and out in probably a minute.

“They are looking for money,” he said.

The most recent break-ins occurred either late Sunday night or early Monday morning.

Biggart said whomever is responsible broke into Marsh Auto Repair at 2680 S. 11th St. and Tyler Chevrolet at 1810 S. 11th St.

There was also a break-in at the Midas Auto Repair shop at 2543 S. 11th St. in the middle of last week and a break-in at Zolman Tire at 1901 S. 11th Street last month.

The Milano’s Pizza on North 17th Street was also broken into in late October.

Biggart said the break-ins might be related to at least one similar incident recently in St. Joseph County, Indiana.

He said the Zolman Tire incident might not be related to the others.

“But we can’t rule it out,” he said.

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department and Michigan State Police are investigating.

There are no suspects at this time, but Biggart said law enforcement agencies are increasing patrols.

He is asking the public to report any suspicious activity, such as people or vehicles near businesses after hours.

All break-ins occurred in either the late evening or early morning hours.

People with tips can contact the sheriff’s department detective bureau at (269) 983-7141 ext. 7224.

People can also submit an anonymous tip via Michiana CrimeStoppers, which offers a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest.

Anonymous tips can be given online at, or through a link on its Facebook page. People can submit a tip through the same secure link using a smart phone with the free Tip Submit Mobile App. People can also call (800) 342-7867.