Berryville Merchants Hit by “Double Nickel Bandit”

Several Clarke county businesses opened their shops Wednesday morning and discovered they had been burglarized. The incidents occurred Tuesday night in several locations in and around the Town of Berryville and appear to be connected.

Blossman Gas Store Manager, Ellis Chapman said his employees discovered the cash box in their store had been emptied with the exception of 2 nickels. Investigators believe the thief or thieves may have gained access through a second story window. An undisclosed amount of money was taken.

A similar burglary occurred at Mackenzie’s Restaurant where a cash box was cleaned out and a double nickel “deposit” was also discovered. A third burglary was reported at the Camino Real Restaurant. A vandalism was reported at the USA Tae Kwon Do Center just outside the town limits that same night that may be connected. Cash was stolen in each of the businesses in town and several of the incidents seemed to be marked by pranks. In addition to the nickels left behind at two locations, the perpetrator of the Camino Real theft took the time to have several drinks. The owner of the Camino Real said he found three empty beer bottles and two empty liquor bottles on the steps in his establishment.

The method of entry into the businesses is currently under investigation by the Berryville Police as well as the development of potential person(s) of interest. Berryville Police Chief Neil White said   that items of evidence were collected at the scenes and are being processed.   He added,” If there are any business owners that would like to discuss their individual security protocols, members of the Berryville Police Department will gladly meet with them on an   individual basis to discuss their concerns and evaluate their procedures.”

Sheriff Tony Roper said his office is working the incident that occurred at the USA Tae Kwon Do Center as a vandalism at this time but believes it is probably related to the other incidents.

Anyone with information regarding these burglaries is requested to contact the Berryville Police Department at 540-955-3863 or Clarke County Emergency Communications Center at 540-955-1234.   Those who have information and wish to remain anonymous may contact the Winchester-Frederick-Clarke Crime Solvers at 540-665-TIPS.

The investigating officer assigned to these incidents is Investigator Greg Frenzel who may be reached at the Berryville Police Department.


  1. I hope they catch these criminals.

  2. Just wondering why any business leaves cash in the drawer overnight.

    Seems to be a lot of robberies lately in the news.

    • Well, at least when the person is caught, police can say without a doubt it was the say person. While the “double nickel” might appear cute to him or her now, I’m sure they will regret it soon enough.

    • Just to clear things up, I don’t know if the other businesses that were affected left large sums of money in their stores. Makenzie’s was fortunate enough to only get hit for the “coins” of the start up drawer for Wednesday morning. And some coins left in the server tip boxes. We do not leave cash at our business at the end of the shift. Perhaps the suspects thought we did and that is why they chose us, I don’t know. As I stated before the biggest thing for us was the inconvenience of stealing our register and losing a half days worth of business.

      All in all, they actually gave us a new slogan for our t-shirts. “Our pies are good enough to steal”… lol! They stole 3 of them. Cherry & Coconut Custard.

  3. I am wondering where the police was? It is Berryville and there isn’t much there. This is really sad that this many business where hit all in the same night? Maybe we are getting too many 7-11 in the area because they sure were not patroling the area. Really, really sad!!!

    • Is the BPD even staffed over night?

      • BlossomButt says:

        No, Clarke County and State Troopers take over, and Clarke County takes Berryville calls at night. I can say for certain, that many times, a deputy on duty until 4am has gone home to sleep at 2am and told the dispatcher to call him if something came up. It was several years ago, and it did happen, no arguments because I know the deputy personally.

        • You are incorrect, Berryville does have a police officer at all times. And though the sleeping on the job may have happened years past, it doesn’t now.

    • I would think it would be easier to do this in Berryville than Winchester. BPD is staffed at night, but by what, one officer? I would think it would be a whole lot easier to go undetected by one officer than many. You also have less citizens out at night to also take notice to such. I don’t think we can blame the police here…most robbers wait until they know the police aren’t in that area before they do anything and they aren’t wearing neon signs that say “I’m about the commit a breaking and entering”.

    • Just sayin says:

      Not sure why you feel the need to be negative. Look at the recent bank robberies – all happened in the broad daylight, and they only now have caught the guy. Daylight does not necessarily make it easier to catch someone. If it’s a matter of not having an alarm system, or whatever, then that is something to address. But to imply that the BPD is at fault for an overnight burst of criminal activity is not necessary.

    • Just wanted to let everyone know that are two different concerned’s speaking here….I am the one that knows that “was” should be “were” in the first sentence, and “where” should be “were” in the third sentence… i also would not speak of our local police forces like this, they should be respected. We are lucky to not have a lot of violent crime in our area, but a policeman never knows when they will have to deal with it. For that alone they deserve quite a bit of respect……

  4. Commenter 1 says:

    They probably leave money in their drawer because they need it to open with in the morning. It wouldn’t be wise to deposit all of your cash. They probably did not get away with much money, but regardless its theft anyway you look at it. I hope all the other businesses are notified, even Food Lion, to be aware of this bandit.

    • True, but a safe would be a smarter place to put it. But in the credit of these businesses, I’m sure they never thought this would happen simply because it probably hasn’t in the past. Hopefully they will now review the procedure in which they keep money locked. And as you said, it probably wasn’t much. Any money made through the day was probably already deposited or kept elsewhere.

  5. We arrived at work at 7:30 and within a matter of minutes the Berryville Police were at the restaurant and investigating the scene. They were very thorough in finger printing and taking photographs. Officer Hollins did an excellent job with all of that. We were the first reported robbery, then Camino, then Blossmans so needless to say the Police Dept. had their hands full all day yesterday, but within hours already had persons of interest.

    The whole break in was very strange! It was more of an inconvenience. We weren’t able to open until 2 because they not only stole money, but they stole our register (hard to operate without one, lol). So we spent the day securing our building even more and trying to find a register.

    All in all, the Berryville Police did a wonderful job thus far with this investigation and I look for them to catch the person(s) responsible very soon! I commend them for the job they have done.

  6. And why did none of these places have some sort of security alarm and or cameras installed? They really are not all that expensive. And the thieves had time to have a couple of drinks? Amazing.

    • Then why don’t everyone simply chip in and buy them security cameras and alarms? It can be more costly than you think. Would you be willing to purchase them for them? If no, then you know how they feel as to why they don’t have them.

  7. I am truly surprised (though maybe I should not be) at the ignorance that is shown on this forum at times. YES, B’ville DOES has police coverage. And yes, they are often involved in tasks that are much more involved than people on here give them credit for. The fact that they do not catch an individual, sneaking in darkness, on a given night is not cause to question them. The fact that that things take place outside of their ability to prevent is not cause to constantly question them. These guys are at a disadvantage from the start, and yet all the community wants to do is question and criticize, as opposed to supporting and providing them with the support they need to succeed and accomplish their goals of bettering the community. Personally (being born and raised and still living here), I am quite embarrassed to be a part of a small community that is so quick to place blame on our small police force when each of us could be an asset to the prevention of the localized crime, or at least aid the force with the info that they need to remove the negative elements.

    • How does that show ignorance. I was just asking a question. It’s not uncommon for some small towns to not have 24-7 police coverage. There are even some rural states that do not have State Trooper coverage in the very late hours, i.e. 2-6 AM. And Berryville has Clarke County as backup. Maybe they have budget reasons and keep someone on call. I’m sure they are more than capable when a challenge arises, just wasn’t sure if they had staff on hand.

  8. Sarge Willis says:

    Seems to me this was done by some very amateur burglars. Probably when they are caught (and I believe they will be) it will turn out to be some bored teenagers. Sad to say they have probably just ruined their whole future. A B&E is a major felony and they could end up in jail for 5 years.

    • Now now, Sarge. This is Clarke County. The perpetrators just made a series of colossally bad decisions. If they are in fact bored teenagers, then the Christian thing to do would be to forgive them and take away their ipods for a week.

      • BlossomButt says:

        Well I for a fact know two teenagers in my nice neighborhood that are very bored, out of school and have nothing to do. I have seen them walking the streets at 3am (and one of them is not old enough because of the curfew) and they are walking the streets in the rain, wind, snow, whatever. I may be old fashioned, but any teenager or younger adult out walking the streets at that hour is up to no good. Period.

    • I think you are right however I was once a bored teenage and I never even considered breaking into businesses…I watched TV. Bored teenager with theft problems sounds more accurate.

  9. just interested says:

    The sad overlying fact here is this has become a sign of the times. Winchester has had several bank robberies.During the day. Now Berryville hit with a slew of break-ends. Are these people in desperate need of money that they resort to breaking the laws no matter the cost of the crime? Is it a bunch of bored teenagers? If so it appears this was planned in advance. Having lived in Berryville for years and the county of Clarke I am sorry to see this happening in our lovely community. For the record I think the police,sheriff’s dept and state police all do a great job and work as hard as they can. My sympathies go to the business that have suffered these break in’s. We are all struggling in this economy and set backs are sure to hurt.

  10. I for 1 would like to say Thank You to our local force. City, County and State. They are there when we need them. I would HOPE they are not over-staffing when they are not needed. These types of crimes are rare and not predictable. This is a safe area and citizens care. I think it is common sense not to keep cash in a register drawer over night – you are inviting trouble. Even in a small town. But not the police’s fault – it is the business owners. It ends up being the Police’s problem because they have to investigate it. Same thing if the buildings doors and windows are not secure. This is not the BPD’s fault. Yet I have seen BPD walking the beat at night checking local business doors to be sure they are locked. Not like they have to. Sometimes it takes a break-in or something of the sort for people to realize these are desperate times for some people and the business owners need to check their procedures.

  11. Sarge Willis says:

    So very true Whuuut, the town and county police do a great job for our county and towns, Having lived in the county for over 25+ years, 20 in Berryville, I have had visits from a town constable from time to time (and yes some times it was in the middle of the night) they have alway been professional, courteous, and helpful. These break ins are unusual and one of the reasons I too get up before 3 am and do that horrible commute to DC every day. On the other side of the mountain this type of crime wouldn’t even make the page 2 in the papers.