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Intruders ‘weaseled’ through walls and shattered doors to break into SoCal businesses

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Multiple Juice It Up! locations across San Bernardino County were reportedly broken into last weekend, the latest in a monthlong string of incidents targeting the smoothie franchise.

Recent intruders have smashed glass doors or even torn through walls to gain access to stores, leaving the owners of some locations facing hundreds of dollars in damage — even if nothing of value is taken.

One of the latest incidents happened about 3:30 a.m. Saturday. Security video shows two people in black hoodies throwing a rock and shattering the front door of a Juice It Up! shop in Yucaipa. They attempt to break into the cash register and search the store before leaving.

Kelsey Norton, the shop’s owner, said her store was one of five Juice It Up! locations that were broken into in San Bernardino County on Saturday alone.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and Juice It Up! company leadership did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

According to Norton, last weekend’s break-ins are part of a larger trend of intrusions at Juice It Up! stores across the Greater Los Angeles area.

“Our franchise consultant was telling me all these locations are being broken into,” she said. “They have a spreadsheet of when it happens and it’s all been within a month really.”

One Juice It Up! store in Riverside County, about 20 miles southwest of the Yucaipa location, was broken into on Nov. 12. But rather than shattering the glass door, the burglars tore through its wall to get in.

“They broke into the wall that we share with [the neighboring business], pulled out insulation and with the crowbar, they busted through our wall and the tiles and everything and just weaseled themselves through,” said Judith Govea, the store’s manager.

The neighboring business was vacant, making it easy for the thieves to get in, she said.

Corporate officials said there have been more than two dozen burglaries at Juice It Up! stores across Southern California in the last month, according to NBC Los Angeles.

The two intruders did not take any valuables from the Yucaipa Juice It Up!, Norton said. The same was true at Juan’s Super Pollo, a Yucaipa restaurant that was also broken into Saturday, owner Driselda Picazo said.

It was unclear whether the two break-ins were the work of the same two culprits, but in both cases, security video showed two people exiting a white car, shattering the front door using a rock, then checking the cash register and the back of the stores before leaving within minutes.

“We had a brand-new 55-inch TV. It was sitting right there in the box and they didn’t even look at it twice,” Norton said. “There were also a bunch of [iPad] tablets on the counter I was going to recycle, but they didn’t touch those either.”

Although the burglars walked away empty-handed, the damage done to the stores’ shattered doors cost $1,500 at Juice It Up! and $600 at Juan’s Super Pollo.

Norton owns two other Juice It Up! stores in Coachella Valley, both of which she said were broken into within the last year.

“I have my staff test the alarm system to make sure it goes off and the police are calling,” she said. “We never keep any cash in the store at all.”

Govea said Juice it Up! has instructed stores to leave empty cash registers open to show that there is no money to be stolen and advised installing metal gates to protect storefronts.

Some of the stores broken into Saturday were small-family businesses, such as Juan’s Super Pollo and YucaBoba, Picazo said.

“A lot of these stores in Yucaipa are family-owned,” Picazo said. “They’re not big corporations, so I was sad to hear that. Yucaipa is a very safe town. We never heard about this.”

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