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Helena man accused in burglaries of eight local businesses

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Authorities have charged a Helena man arrested after police tracked his footprints in the snow to his doorstep with a total of eight burglaries around town. 

Jaryd Keith Hafer faces a total of 10 felony charges, including eight for burglaries. 

Police allege Hafer burglarized or attempted to steal from Steve's Cafe, Hair Hair, Geneva Woods Pharmacy, The Dive Bakery, L & D Chinese Buffet, Brewhouse Pub and Grille, Ashley HomeStore and Great Clips.

Hafer pleaded not guilty to all of the charges on Wednesday, a day after the new charges were filed in Helena district court. A trial has been slated for May 8. 

The spree reportedly started on Nov. 30. It ended on on Jan. 3 after Hafer allegedly broke into Geneva Woods Pharmacy then walked back to his California Street residence. 

Hafer, 25, was then jailed on a felony charge of burglary for allegedly breaking into the pharmacy. Police say during a subsequent interview Hafer admitted to the other burglaries and attempted thefts. 

Early on the morning of Feb. 3, officers responded to a burglary alarm at Geneva Woods Pharmacy at 2600 Winne Avenue. The culprit had broken a window and opened the cash register, police said.

After receiving video of the burglary, a police sergeant recognized the suspect, whose garments included a striped hooded sweatshirt, plaid coat and Etnies shoes from a motorist assist call the previous week. Court documents say the sergeant, who remembered the man lived in a California Street apartment, reviewed video from the motorist call and confirmed his suspicion. The man in the video was wearing the same sweatshirt and shoes. Court documents say police found a cash register drawer and the clothing seen in the surveillance footage from the pharmacy.

Authorities say the other burglaries were similar and the target was generally the cash register. Hafer used a tool to break a window or door in order to enter the business and then would search for items to steal, court documents state. 

In a subsequent search of Hafer's vehicle, police found a cash drawer taken from Steve's Cafe and a cash box stolen from Hair Hair, the documents allege.

The businesses reported missing more then $1,500 in cash and other items. Hafer is accused of causing more than $1,500 in damage during the break-ins. 

Hafer also faces felony charges of theft by common scheme and criminal mischief by common scheme. 

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