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Video shows suspect breaking glass to get into Beacon Hill gift shop

Man arrested for break-in on Beacon Hill
Man arrested for break-in on Beacon Hill 02:27

BOSTON - Surveillance video shows a man breaking into a Beacon Hill gift shop overnight, shortly before police made an arrest in the incident.

The video shared by the Charles Street store with WBZ-TV shows the man sticking his arm though shattered glass as he tries to get the door open. He then uses his shoe to kick out more of the glass and tries to climb inside through the small opening.

Boston Police said that officers responding to a report of the break-in saw someone matching the description of the man who broke into the store. They said he tried to walk away as they approached him on Charles Street.

Police eventually caught up and arrested 55-year-old James Schaff, of Boston, shortly before 12:30 a.m. Thursday.

During that investigation, police say on the same night, someone tried to smash into the Sara Campbell boutique around the corner on Chestnut Street.

The suspect couldn't get in, but the door was left destroyed.

"It's alarming and uncomforting to know that somebody could break into any business or home," said Rebecca Law with Sara Campbell Boutique. "It's frustrating that the glass was broken and there's a cost fix that but we're thankful they weren't able to get into the store."

Beacon Hill break-in
A man sticks his head through broken glass as he tries to break into a gift shop on Beacon Hill. CBS Boston

Boston Police are also trying to figure out if it's the same brick-wielding suspect who busted into at least four other stores on Charles Street on Saturday and Sunday.

At Soodee Boutique a man was seen on surveillance video ransacking the store before making off with the entire register and jewelry Saturday night.

The next morning, the store owner saw the mess where blood was left on the counter.

"First I feel sad, I feel violated, I feel no sense of security any more it can happen anytime," said Diane Aguon, Soodee owner.

The alarming break-ins led Beacon Hill Books and Cafe owner Melissa Fetter to hire private security to protect business owners this week.

"I know how hard all the shop owners work to serve the community, so it is a slap in the face when you're being attacked in this way," said Fetter.

Police have charged Schaff with breaking and entering for two of the burglaries while detectives work to figure out if the rest are connected.

During Schaff's arraignment at Boston Municipal Court, his attorney said he's homeless.

Schaff is being held on a $20,000 bail.  

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