Nanaimo Mounties are searching for a thief with a taste for high-end coffee makers after a string of thefts from three different Starbucks locations Friday.

Const. Gary O’Brien said the stores were targeted by either one thief who changed clothes between robberies, or a group, but he said police believe the coffee machine heists are connected.

“There was one, maybe two people involved,” O’Brien said. “Just given the timing and the same item being targeted makes us believe the incidents are connected.”

The first incident happened at around 7:30 p.m. at the Terminal Park Mall Starbucks. The suspect, a white male in his 20s, who was wearing dark clothes and a baseball cap, allegedly walked into the store and picked up two Verismo coffee machines, valued at around $200 each. The man exited the store and drove away in a vehicle.

Ten minutes later, a Starbucks at University Mall was hit, and again, two Verismo coffee machines were stolen. The suspect walked west on Fifth Street but was not caught by police. Witnesses said that suspect was a white male, around 5-11 tall, weighing 170 pounds and wearing a black jacket with white lettering on the left sleeve, a white baseball cap and jeans.

The third theft was reported later from the Country Club Starbucks. Police believe the heist occurred between 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., however there were no witnesses.

Police are reviewing surveillance video from each of the locations. Additionally, police are working with Starbucks and other stores that are very busy and display a lot of merchandise to help them prevent crimes such as this.

“We will get to the bottom of this,” O’Brien said.

Police said the motive of the thefts is unknown, but they do not believe the culprits to be coffee enthusiasts. O’Brien said the coffee machines will likely be resold on Craigslist or eBay or traded for drugs.

Anyone with information on the robberies is asked to contact Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.