Thief uses hammer to steal cash, laptops in strip mall heist

ENCINITAS, Calif. -- Authorities are searching for a thief who used a hammer to break into multiple businesses in an Encinitas strip mall, causing damage and stealing valuable items.

Employees of the Fountain of Youth Juice shop say surveillance video shows the thief smashing through its front door and searching the store before being scared off by the alarm system.

“My dad and I, we work at this place, we try to keep it alive and everything and for someone to bust in and not even care about anything we respect, it’s a little demeaning,” said Adam Ejenari.

The bandit also broke into Thai Pan Restaurant, stealing laptops and cash. But the eatery's owner says the biggest loss was the custom glass door that was smashed.

The thief also attempted to break into the new Lawrence furniture store, which suffered some wall damage.

The three owners say they can no longer wait for the Sheriff's department to protect their businesses, so they are preparing to do it on their own. They say they've already installed new cameras and lighting systems.