Is Willowick claw hammer theft just one in a string of east side burglaries?

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WILLOWICK - Authorities are questioning whether a theft captured on surveillance video at the Shoregate Towers shows thieves who may be responsible for a series of similar burglaries in east side communities.

The video shows one thief using a claw hammer for close to nine minutes to get his hands on a box containing money inside a change machine in a laundry room.

The box was part of a 'bill changer,' a device that allows residents to insert dollars to get change so they can feed the quarters into the washers and dryers.

"It's nothing new, unfortunately," says Detective John Malady of the Willowick Police Department.

But he adds what may be new is that authorities now question whether the same thieves may be responsible for similar thefts in Euclid and Richmond Heights.

"It's ridiculous," he says, "but this is what people do to get money."

The video shows a clear shot of the thief whose acting as a lookout.

At one point, the bill changer caves into the wall behind it as the one thief works to get at the box containing the money.

Authorities say they have some physical evidence, but they are also asking anyone who may recognize the thieves to call Willowick police.