The owner of Crazy Hats said word spreads quickly through the Springfield bar industry. The buzz in October, Harry Wiley said, was about a pair of smash-and-grab burglars targeting Springfield bars.
KJ Brewskies was hit for cash twice in three days.
A window was broken at Carries and a $2,000 gaming system was taken.
Someone was brazen enough to creep into a room of Nowhere Bar where the owner was sleeping and lift nearly a thousand dollars in cash.
Both Jo’s Gather’n Place and Moonshiner’s had a laptop and cash taken days apart.
Police say all these incidents – and other commercial burglaries – took place within two weeks.
So Wiley said he decided to move the cash left overnight at Crazy Hats to a different spot in the bar.
His decision proved prescient.
Before dawn on a Sunday morning in October, Wiley’s significant other, Tarina Taylor, got an alert on her phone.
Somebody had tripped the silent alarm inside Crazy Hats.
Wiley stayed in bed, but Taylor headed to the bar.
She was about to go inside when she pulled up the surveillance camera feed on her phone.
Taylor said she saw two men rooting around the cash register and decided to wait for police.
An officer arrived and Taylor told him: “You better have big backup coming cause they’re in there now.”
“Next thing I know, there’s 15 cop cars every direction,” Taylor said.
The cars all had their lights flashing, Taylor said, but not a single siren.
According to Taylor, the officers silently gathered around all the possible entrances, then busted in at the same time.
Taylor and Wiley said they later reviewed the security footage, which showed one of the men running back and forth, apparently looking for a way out of the bar.
At one point, they said the footage showed a man using a crowbar to try opening a safe bolted to the ground.
The man lost his footing, Taylor said, and fell backward into a bucket used to collect rainwater dripping through the ceiling.
“He got his butt soaked,” she recalled, chuckling.
Wiley said all the burglars were able to take were some sentimental bills displayed in the bar: a counterfeit $20 bill, a $5 bill Wiley won in a pool tournament and two $1 bills.
So, Wiley said, a grand total of $7.
However, the damage they apparently caused to break into his bar is much more substantial, Wiley said.
Prosecutors charged Angel Alicea Negron and Taylor Kyle Olesen with burglary following the Crazy Hats break-in, according to court records.
Earlier this month, prosecutors charged Negron, Olesen or both of them with all the other bar break-ins reported to police in October, plus a few other commercial burglaries.
Police say Negron and Olesen fessed up to several of the break-ins. Surveillance footage and cellphone search histories were also reviewed by police to tie them to the incidents.
According to court records, Negron, 28, has been charged with nine counts of felony burglary and a count of felony stealing, and Olesen, 24, has been charged with six counts of felony burglary.
Attorneys for the men did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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