MANCHESTER — Dana Geneseo said he has done everything he can. He no longer leaves anything of value when he goes home at night and his new door is windowless.

Geneseo even installed an alarm and a camera, both of which worked as intended Tuesday night when someone broke into his barber shop for the fifth time in three months.

“From the video, they’re in the store for less than two minutes,” Geneseo said. “They go to the exact locations that they have found money before. The alarm’s going off basically the entire time they are here.”

Geneseo, 38, opened Dana’s Barber Shop nine years ago at 747 Western Ave. Except for a break-in a few years after he opened when some candy and a couple of dollars was stolen, Geneseo’s business enjoyed security until Sept. 2. That’s when burglars made off with a 40-inch flat screen television and about $1,000 in cash.

Since then, burglars have broken into Geneseo’s shop four more times — on each occasion breaking a window and, except for Tuesday’s break-in, taking a small amount of cash.

“Except for the TV, they’re searching for strictly cash,” Geneseo said. “I believe I’ve been targeted as an easy target.”

Geneseo stopped leaving a large amount of cash at the store overnight after the first burglary, but he continued to keep about $30 on hand to make change when he re-opened. He discontinued that practice after the third break-in.

Geneseo’s shop was burglarized again on Nov. 28. The thieves took what they could.

“My first $7 I ever made was in a frame,” Geneseo said. “They took that.”

A burglar left empty handed on Tuesday. The camera Geneseo installed captured the thief’s frantic search for valuables.

“There was nothing here to come up with,” Geneseo said. “This time they broke the window in the building because the door no longer has a window in it.”

Geneseo believes the same person or small group is responsible for all the break-ins. He’s wondered if it might be a customer. Or maybe college students because many of the burglaries have occurred around holidays. He does not believe the break-ins have been spawned by a vendetta, because the burglars never cause gratuitous damage.

The store has been hit at all hours and various days of the week.

“Every theory I’ve had is just that — a theory,” Geneseo said. “I believe it’s somebody that has been in the barber shop, but looking at the video it did not pop out who it was, so I don’t believe it’s regular customers.”

Many of those regular customers are members of law enforcement, some of whom have devoted their off time to trying to figure out who is responsible for the break-ins. Maine State Police and the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office have spent a lot of time on the case, Geneseo said. The agencies have stepped up patrols in the area as well.

“Both places have put a boatload of work into this,” Geneseo said. “That makes it even more frustrating, that guys who catch these guys for a living can’t do anything. I believe they’re as frustrated as I am.”

Capt. Daniel Davies of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office said his agency’s major crimes unit continues to investigate the burglaries and that has led to a suspect, Davies said.

Geneseo posted video recorded Tuesday night on his Facebook page in hopes that someone will recognize a detail that leads to the burglar, who is wearing thick gloves, a sweatshirt and a bulky coat. Police believe the person is about 5 feet, 9 inches tall and has an average-to-small build. The burglar also is wearing bell-bottom pants.

“It’s probably the most defining feature of the person,” Geneseo said. “Not a lot of people out there are wearing bell-bottoms anymore.”

It’s another piece to the puzzle Geneseo is desperate to solve quickly.

“It’s like getting punched in the face repeatedly with your arms behind your back,” Geneseo said. “It’s extremely frustrating. I’ve done everything within my financial means to make it secure. Nothing has worked.”

Geneseo has caught customers he knows pulling into the parking lot at night, just helping keep an eye on things. Others have taken to Facebook, putting out pleas for information.

“I’ve had a tremendous response out of my customers,” Geneseo said. “It’s a good feeling to know my everyday customers have a personal interest in this. I truly believe it’s just a matter of time before these people get caught.”

Authorities asked that anyone with information related to the burglaries to call Maine State Police Trooper Dane Wing at 1-800-452-4664, or Sgt. Scott Taylor with Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office 1-800-498-1930.

Craig Crosby–621-5642

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