Riverside ‘snake burglar’ steals $15,000 in silver this time

Riverside’s so-called snake burglar has slinked through another business, this time largely avoiding detection by motion sensors to steal silver valued at $15,000.

Crown Gold Exchange on Magnolia Avenue at Tyler Street was hit on Jan. 14 after someone burrowed through the wall of a vacant neighboring business, co-owner Cesar Meyer said on Thursday, Jan. 27.

In an image obtained from a surveillance video, a burglar crawls through a store in Riverside that sells gold and silver. Riverside police are investigating a handful of similar break-ins attributed to the so-called snake burglar. (Courtesy of Crown Gold Exchange)

The buyer of gold and silver became about the fifth business in the city to be similarly victimized, said Officer Ryan Railsback, a Police Department spokesman.

“Detectives believe it could be the same suspect. Based on the surveillance video, his actions are similar to the others that occurred in late November 2021. Our detectives are following up on some good leads but we haven’t identified the suspect yet,” Railsback said.

On Nov. 26, a burglar crawled through the Rustic Roots salon at 10246 Indiana Ave. in Riverside, stealing $8,000 in cash and beauty products. He apparently entered through a rooftop fire escape. The Rustic Roots and Crown Gold Exchange burglaries both happened around 5 a.m. or 5:30 a.m.

Meyer said he wonders if the burglar is familiar with alarm systems. He was able to rummage through a room for five minutes, taking silver out of the bottom drawer of a filing cabinet. The alarm didn’t sound until the burglar rose slightly as he left back through the hole.

“I think he’s a piece of dirt, but he’s avoiding detection, so he definitely knows what he is doing,” Meyer said.

Meyer said his business had an ADT security system.

Bob Tucker, an ADT spokesman, said Meyer’s is the only business that has filed a claim for a loss from the burglary spree.

“We thoroughly investigated this issue and determined the security system was working, as indicated when the alarm triggered as the burglar left the business. As a goodwill gesture, we offered the customer a credit on his account and our maximum liability claim. He refused both,” Tucker said.