A man is accused of targeting Hispanic-owned businesses in Chattanooga.

Police said four were broken into from March 8th to March 23rd:

  • Tienda Maya on Central Avenue
  • The Stumble Inn and Tienda Ramirez on Rossville Blvd.
  • El Paisano on Rossville Blvd.

They believe 38-year-old Cedrick Williams is responsible for the burglaries on Central Avenue and Rossville Boulevard.

Surveillance video from the most recent burglary at El Paisano is what helped police in the case. Investigators said they recognized Williams from other arrests. 

A new door marked a fresh start for El Paisano after it was broken into on Thursday. The burglar left a mess at the restaurant and grocery store including some broken glass.

"Feel bad because we're trying to build some business here and work, jobs, and all that here and people are just trying to break it down," Owner Santos Chavez said.

Chavez said he's out thousands of dollars.

Chattanooga police said the Hispanic-owned business was one of four broken into by Williams.

"There's a misconception that the Hispanic community doesn't report crimes as frequently as other segments of our population. We're making really good in-roads into changing that," Capt. Glenn Scruggs with the Chattanooga Police Department said.

Captain Scruggs said Williams has an extensive criminal history.

He said it's typical for burglars to break into places they're familiar with and close by. He said there's no exception here. 

"We're not going to allow a segment of this community to be targeted and we're going to go after the guys that do those sorts of things with all we have," Scruggs said.

Chavez's security camera wasn't working, but a business across the street managed to capture two men. Police said one of them was Williams.

Most of the burglaries officers say he's responsible for were within a few blocks of each other. The break-in prompted Chavez to upgrade security measures at his business.

"Make sure you know that everything is okay here and nobody get hurt and all that stuff," Chavez said.

Police told Channel 3 they're still looking for one person they say was involved in the recent break-in, but they call Williams the primary suspect that's tied to all 4 burglaries.

Police said Williams admitted to burglarizing El Paisano and the three other businesses.

He faces several charges including burglary, theft, and vandalism. Officers said he had 9 outstanding warrants.