Ithaca, N.Y. — Angelo Dry Cleaners in Ithaca saw just one burglary from the time Tabitha Davis began working there 11 years ago until the beginning of this summer.

But in the last four weeks, the dry cleaning business on North Meadow Street has been ransacked twice — with more than $700 in stolen goods and required repairs.

For Davis, the damage done extends beyond the monetary impact — and into the sense of security the business has in the city’s west end neighborhood.

Tabitha Davis points to security footage. (Jeff Stein/Ithaca Voice)
A burglar broke through those windows this week.

“My employees and I have discussed how scary it is,” said Davis, the store’s manager, in an interview Wednesday.

“It can be edgy here by yourself at night, not knowing if this person is going to take the chance to rob someone point blank, face-to-face.”

The dry cleaners is one of at least 10 Ithaca businesses to be hit by burglaries in the last few weeks. Others include Ithaca to Go, The Piggery, Firehouse Subs and the Bowl-O-Drome.

Police have released surveillance tape and images of a suspect, but it’s unclear who or how many people are involved in the different break-ins.

A suspect in a break-in at Ithaca to Go.

Davis said someone first broke into Angelo’s the week of July 17, stole a register and took off. It was around the same time the adjacent Byrne Dairy was robbed, she said. The next morning, Davis found a crowbar on the floor.

She followed the news of break-ins at other nearby stores. Angelo’s staff worked to hide its valuable belongings more carefully and is glad to have done so because someone broke in again on Tuesday.

Around 5:36 a.m., the burglar broke in through the window of the back of Angelo’s cleaning section. He or she then scoured the cleaning section and office space.

“The drawers were all scattered; he rummaged through everything he could get his hands on,” Davis said.

Nothing major was taken. Davis thanked the Ithaca police for their quick response and thorough investigation, but said Angelo’s is now worried and searching to learn what can be done.

They’ve adjusted the security camera in the main cleaning area and are considering other measures, Davis said. No arrests in the case have been announced.

Davis showed a reporter the tape of the break-in on an old gray LOREX TV security system. The grainy image makes it difficult to identify the burglar.

“You can see him going through all the stuff right here,” she said.

The dry cleaners has been in Ithaca since 1929. It has four employees, including Davis, who often works 10 hour days.

For that work to be taken by a thief, Davis said, is extremely frustrating.

“It’s a mom and pop shop … We put a lot of energy into making our business successful,” she said, “and then someone comes along to break that down.”

Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.