The intruders smashed open all the glass jewelry cases in the store.
By HAROLD GWIN
VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU
HERMITAGE, Pa. -- Police responded to a burglar alarm in just one minute, but it was too late to nab some fast-moving thieves.
Police said the Mercer County 911 Center got the alarm at 10:23 p.m. Monday and dispatched a Hermitage officer at 10:24.
The police station is less than a half-mile from the Shenango Valley Mall and the officer was just going onto the streets as shifts changed, allowing him to reach the scene in about 60 seconds, said Police Chief Edward Stanton.
The officer found an unlocked back door at Kaufmann's and stayed at that location until a second car arrived to check the rest of the doors.
A car was parked nearby and police thought the burglars might still be inside, Stanton said.
It was the officer in the second car who found where the thieves entered.
The intruders used a concrete block and a 3-foot section of pipe to smash the glass of an east side door, Stanton said. The unlocked rear door led to a storage area and didn't provide access to the store.
The thieves were gone, Stanton said, noting they had used the pipe to also smash all of the store's jewelry cases.
They apparently also took a number of neckties from a rack near the east-side doors as they left the building, he said.
Inventory planned: An initial assessment of the loss was put at about $10,000, although a complete inventory hadn't been finished, Stanton said Wednesday.
The store removes most of its more valuable diamonds and other jewelry pieces from the cases each night and locks them in a safe, he said.
When police checked the car left in the parking lot, they found some of the ties and some jewelry inside.
The car had been stolen from the J.D. Byrider lot across East State Street from Kaufmann's. Police don't know why it was abandoned.
Some neckties were also found in the parking lot at the former VFW building on nearby East State Street, an indication that the thieves had a second vehicle waiting for them there.