North Coast Police are seeking the public’s help in locating the “ice cream bandit” after a series of weekend break-ins throughout the county.

Gearhart Police are investigating the burglary of the Gearhart Dairy Queen and Pop’s Sweet Shop, while Warrenton Police are investigating the attempted burglary of the Warrenton Dairy Queen. Investigators believe all three incidents are related.

“Each time he got away with cash,” said Gearhart Police Chief Jeff Bowman. “And if you watch his movements, it seems like he scoped out the place ahead of time to know where the cameras are.”

Bowen said the burglary of the Gearhart Dairy Queen occurred just before 2:30 a.m. Friday. The man, caught on video while in the store, is described as a slender white male, in his late teens or 20s, wearing black jeans, a black hooded sweatshirt and a bandanna over his face.

Using a wonder bar to break into the establishment on U.S. Highway 101, the bandit made off with $260 – plus the cost of damage to the store. Bowen said he believes the bandit left fingerprints on the cash register as he broke in to the machine. Elsewhere in the store, the man kept his hands tucked inside his sleeves.

The following night a break-in was attempted at the Warrenton Dairy Queen. Police Chief Mathew Workman said the back door was pried open and then the bandit attempted to open the safe. But for whatever reason, the burglar fled.

“It was really strange, there was nothing taken or disturbed,” Workman said. “But someone is on site, upstairs, and they heard a noise, but thought it was just a delivery truck. It was actually someone breaking in.”

Workman said the burglar may have heard whoever was on site, too, and might have gotten spooked. The bandit didn’t take anything but did “quite a bit of damage,” by prying open the door.

“We don’t know if they are connected. We don’t have video at our Dairy Queen, but the one in Gearhart does have video and his face was covered so you can’t tell who he is,” Workman said.

Bowman said he believes a wonder bar was also used to pry open the door in Warrenton.

Monday, a Gearhart store owner, who lives behind Pop’s Sweet Shop, heard a noise around 5:35 a.m. and opened the door between the home and the business to see a burglar rummaging through the cash register. Bowman said the owner let out a scream, surprising the man, who dropped his break-in bar, and fled the shop with $190 in cash.

The bar, as well as other evidence collected at the scene, has been turned over to Oregon State Police for processing.

Bowman nicknamed the burglar the “ice cream bandit” and hopes anyone with information will contact Gearhart Police. He said he is hopeful fingerprints will lead police to the suspect.

Gearhart Police can be reached at 503-738-5501 or at info@ci.gearhart.or.us

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