Multiple break-ins and burglaries have been happening across the Central Coast, leaving many residents and business owners concerned.
Police say in many cases, the suspects are booked into county jail but released soon after.
"Since COVID started, we have actually seen quite a big increase in commercial burglaries here in SLO. There's been about a 50% increase,” said Captain Brian Amoroso, San Luis Obispo Police Department.
It's an increase that police are attributing to the pandemic.
"A lot of crimes that typically we would have been able to book into a county jail or held for significant periods of times, they are now being filed with the district attorney and left in the field or being released a short time later from the jails,” Capt. Amoroso said.
Many local businesses like Taco Temple, Hoagies, and Dream Dinners are dealing not only with what was taken but also the cost of repairs.
"It's kind of sad because you would hope, I don't know, I just hope they find resolve for what they need and they don't do it to someone else and make it worse because for here, the damage is definitely going to cost me more than what they actually took,” Dream Dinners owner Lauren Persall said.
Capt. Amoroso says that because many offenders are not booked, it leaves a window of opportunity for them to do it again.
“People that are victimizing our community are continuing to re-victimize others and that's something we are working really hard to prevent but it's incredibly difficult as some of our options that we have historically used to prevent crimes from happening are no longer available while we are in this pandemic,” he added.
The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office says suspects arrested on second-degree burglary charges are eligible for zero bail, but first-degree burglary suspects are not.
Police say the best thing a business can do to prevent a burglary is to add more lighting and surveillance, and of course, be a good neighbor. If you see something out of the ordinary call the police right away.