Three Toronto residents face 355 charges in a break-and-enter operation that targeted fast-food restaurants across the Greater Toronto Area and netted $250,000 in cash.

Police said the suspects wore disguises when they dropped off a one-square-metre cardboard box in front of the store late at night.

One of the thieves would then crawl into the box and remove the door's glass pane through an open side of the box. The cardboard sat right up against the door, therefore concealing the action.

The box would look like a delivery and therefore didn't look unusual to passing police cruisers or motorists, police said.

After entering the store using the specialized tools, the culprits would steal cash and take any laptops found inside the office, according to authorities.

The suspects communicated to each other using ear-pieces and disabled alarm systems, police said.

"These suspects were very organized and they planned and executed every one of their entries," Toronto police Det. Sgt. Reuben Stroble told reporters at an afternoon press conference.

"(Removing the glass) was very unique. We don't see this very often."

Toronto police began an investigation last May, called "Project Glide," when they noticed a spike in the number of break-and-enters at fast food restaurants across the city since the fall of 2006.

Toronto joined forces with police agencies across southern Ontario, where similar incidents had been reported. In total, police said more than 200 businesses were targeted.

On Sept. 1, police caught two men breaking into a Taco Bell in Toronto's east end using the cardboard box method. An investigation connected the suspects, who had backgrounds in glass removal, to the string of break-and-enters.

A third suspect, a woman, was later arrested in connection with the case.

Officers seized numerous tools and retrieved some of the laptops.

Police have laid 355 charges of break-and-enter, disguise with intent, possession of burglar's tools and committing an indictable offence.

Charged are 27-year-old Gordon Michael Edwards, 25-year-old Jason Richard Phillips and 23-year-old Dona Hofscheier.

They appeared at the Old City Hall courts on Tuesday.