The first report of smashed glass came in at 11:46 p.m. from the Kwang Tung Restaurant at 12056 San Pablo Ave., Richmond police Lt. Shawn Pickett said.
Four minutes later, a similar report of a broken window came in from a nearby Chevron gas station at 4838 MacDonald Ave.
The vandal, described as a black man wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans and black tennis shoes, smashed the glass of the attendant's booth, Pickett said.
At midnight, a resident called police to report that a Starbucks coffee shop located about a quarter-mile from the other two businesses had its windows broken out.
An officer patrolling the area at 1 a.m. in response to the flurry of reports discovered that a Panda Express restaurant at 4250 MacDonald Ave. had also been hit.
At least two of the businesses - the two restaurants - also had property stolen, Pickett said.
To temporarily assist the affected businesses, police dispatched a public works crew to put up plywood.
"I know it's really expensive to replace those windows," Pickett said.
A few hours later, a report came in from El Cerrito that the IHOP restaurant at 11511 San Pablo Ave. had also been struck by the vandal, he said.