TAMPA — Months after a burglar began a rampage of smash-and-grabs at South Tampa restaurants, police say they've arrested the culprit.
Richard Bush, 45, of 7303 Summerbridge Drive in Tampa was charged with seven counts of burglary of an unoccupied structure, five counts of petty theft and two counts of grand theft in third degree Wednesday. He was taken to a Hillsborough County jail and held without bail.
On Aug. 25, a Tampa police lieutenant saw a white Ford Econoline van with unique damage parked at a University of Tampa construction site.
The officer noticed the van matched the surveillance video of the van used in the burglary of the Matoi Sushi Restaurant at 602 N Dale Mabry Highway on Aug. 11, according to a search warrant.
Detectives traced the van back to Bush and took surveillance videos of 14 burglaries to his probation officer, Patricia Myers, for review on Aug. 30.
Myers positively identified Bush in seven of the videos.
Along with Matoi, the warrant stated, Bush is suspected in the following burglaries:
• Grillsmith Restaurant at 1108 S Dale Mabry Highway, June 30.
• 717 South Restaurant at 717 S Howard Ave., July 24.
• The Bungalow Restaurant at 2202 W Kennedy Blvd., July 24.
• Royal Palace Thai Cuisine at 811 S Howard Ave. sometime before 9 a.m. July 24.
• Kalupa's Bakery at 2602 S MacDill Ave., Aug. 11.
• Datz Deli at 2616 S MacDill Ave., Aug. 11.
• Subway at 2601 S MacDill Ave., Sept. 1.
Bush has served seven prison sentences on various burglary charges. He was released from Sumter Correctional Institute on May 15.