BRAZEN burglars knocked a hole in the wall of an Oxford newsagent and then returned three times to fill a suitcase with cigarettes and cash.
Despite neighbours in George Street hearing loud banging for about four hours, police were not called until the burglary at Caspian News was discovered by a worker from a neighbouring building site.
Officers believe a gang of three burglars made a hole through the rear wall by methodically removing bricks between 1am and 6am on Wednesday, April 18.
They refused to comment on whether any of the tools used had been found at the scene.
Money was taken from the till along with hundreds of pounds of cigarettes.
Pc Stuart McLaren said: “The offenders were seen walking to and from the scene via Walton Street through Gloucester Green. They made at least three trips to the location.
“I suspect the offenders are local to Oxford and had prior knowledge of the location. They would have had to plan this offence and could have been acting suspiciously around the scene in the days leading up to the offence.”
Detectives were last night reviewing CCTV from the area.
Nearby the cafe La Croissanterie has been targeted four times by burglars since August 2010.
An employee at the cafe, who asked not to be named, said: “To be honest we were not surprised to hear that there was a burglary.
“On March 17 burglars came to us and got in through the window and used a car jack because we have bars on the window.”
Pc McLaren said the two burglaries were not being linked at present.
Police last night issued descriptions of three men they want to question.
The first is white, in his mid 20s, of large build, about 5ft 11ins tall. He was wearing a thick black jacket with a white zip down the front, a white hooded top, black bottoms and white trainers.
The second is white, in his mid 20s, of medium build, about 5ft 11ins tall, with short fair hair. He was wearing a black hooded jacket with white zip down the front, black bottoms, black trainers, and a dark polo T-shirt with white collar and a white logo.
The third man is black, in his late 20s or early 30s, of large build and about 6ft 2ins tall. He walks with a slight limp, and was wearing a padded zipped top, jeans, white trainers, and a beanie hat with small peak.
Anyone with information should call Pc McLaren on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.