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Burglary Suspect 'Tunnels' Through Several Businesses, Causing Thousands In Damage, Police Say

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) —  A bold thief left a trail of destruction in an Orange County strip mall after he "tunneled" his way through the walls of several businesses, facilitating his wrongdoing.

"This is where he made a hole, the tunnel to go through the business next door," said Ana Corona, owner of Don Jacinto Pollo Grill near South Fairfield Street and West Warner Avenue in Santa Ana. Hers was one of two walls destroyed by alleged break-in suspect Johnny Salgado.

"It's crazy.[...] I think he did it by himself, and he seems to be like an expert," Corona said as she surveyed the damage.

Corona's security cameras captured the break-in early Tuesday before Salgado allegedly disconnected the surveillance system.

A delivery man tipped off police, and that's when they found the holes in the walls that allowed Salgado to move between the businesses without being detected.

One other storefront targeted was the Water Land store, where Salgado allegedly tried to break into a Lotto Scratchers machine.

Corona said she had just paid $2,000 to get the broken wall in her bathroom fixed, which can be a lot for a small business owner.

"Often, these businesses are mom-and-pop shops that are just squeaking by," Corp. Anthony Bertagna with the Santa Ana Police Dept. told CBS2 News. "They can't afford to fix the damage these people are doing."

Thirty-year-old Salgado is well-known to the burglary team at SAPD. They believe he is linked to more than a dozen past burglaries. Salgado was convicted of three of them, but only served 16 days in jail.

Salgado and his accomplice were both arrested by officers in Fountain Valley who found a video recorder and a bag of tools in the back seat of their vehicle.

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