Burglars used a torch to break into a Southington Target store before dawn on Wednesday, and police said this burglary was quite similar to burglaries at 13 other Target stores along the East Coast, as far south as Florida, as well as in Texas, according to Southington police.
Target has lost a combined $240,000 in merchandise in all 14 burglaries and Southington police arersted three suspects.
At 12:38 a.m. on Wednesday, police responded to the Target store at 600 Executive Boulevard to investigate a burglary in progress.
On surveillance, two people were spotted inside the store, police said. Then officers noticed a hole in the back door and determined that the people involved had run to the back of the store.
Hoping the catch the burglars, police set up a perimeter, brought in K-9 Arno and started to search, which led south along the 8 Mile River, where the suspected burglars managed to cross the river and flee into the area of Beal Drive and Beverly Drive, police said.
After a two-hour search, police found two of the men.
Elijah Aiken, 31 of Easton, Pennsylvania, and Denzel Holmes, 21, of Allentown, Pennsylvania were in a wooded area and AMR Ambulance was called to the scene to evaluate the two men because of the extreme cold.
Holmes was taken into custody and charged with third-degree burglary, third-degree conspiracy to commit burglary, third-degree criminal mischief and second-degree criminal attempt to commit larceny.
Elijah Aiken was taken into custody and charged with third-degree burglary, third-degree conspiracy to commit burglary, third-degree criminal mischief and second-degree criminal attempt to commit larceny. Police said there are felony , extraditable arrest warrants for him out of Texas and New Jersey.
As the police dog continued to follow the trail, officers found a suspicious vehicle near Beal Drive and police believe the driver, Akbar Aiken, 34, of Allentown, Pennsylvania, was also involved the burglary.
He too was taken into custody and charged with third-degree conspiracy to commit burglary, third-degree conspiracy to commit criminal mischief and second-degree conspiracy to commit larceny.
All three suspects were held in lieu of $250,000 bond and are scheduled to appear in the Bristol Court today.
Detectives from the Southington Police Department are investigating.