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Linds theft nets little, leaves plenty of damage

By BEN WATANABE
South Whidbey Record Sports, Langley, South Whidbey Fire/EMS
March 24, 2013 · Updated 9:08 AM
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The Linds Jewelry storefront reroutes shoppers through the Linds Pharmacy doors. Burglars smashed through the jewelry store’s door in the early hours Wednesday morning. / Ben Watanabe / The Record

An attempted jewelry heist resulted in a little lost jewelry and lots of damage to Linds Jewelry in Freeland.

Thieves smashed a truck through the store’s front door between midnight and 1 a.m. Wednesday. As the rear bumper busted through the frame, it collided with glass display cases that toppled. One case shattered.

“I’ve been a jeweler my whole life and this has never happened,” said Pat Koughan, manager at Linds Jewelry.

No employees were in the store at the time.

An upgrade to the store’s front windows may have led thieves to use a not-so-subtle approach to pilfering. Thieves in October 2012 used hammers to break through the storefront’s windows and grab several items of jewelry. After that, Linds Jewelry installed special smash-resistant windows to prevent another similar intrusion.

But where hammers failed, a truck’s bumper succeeded.

The bandits backed through the storefront. Crashing through the door and windows, the truck’s bumper knocked over a few cases, shattering a glass display and scuffing and scratching stands. Ben Watanabe / The Record | The storefront of Linds Jewelry has boards in place of doors. Someone drove through the front doors and stole fake gold chains and gold plated rings.

When the truck scraped out of the wreckage, it left behind marks on the wood flooring.

“It wasn’t a little, old lady hitting the gas pedal,” Koughan said. “It was intentional.”

Koughan declined to estimate the value of items that were stolen. However, he said fake gold chains and gold plated bands, used for sizing, were grabbed. The combined value of items stolen did not warrant the store to use its special jewelry insurance to recoup the cost.

“They didn’t really get anything significant, thank God,” Koughan said.

No jewelry being specially crafted nor items being cleaned by Linds were stolen. Those items are kept in secure vaults.

“I take a lot of pride in the level of taking care of our customers’ things,” Koughan said.

Surveillance footage inside Linds was turned in to law enforcement.

More damage was done to Linds’ store insurance. An estimate on the cost of repairs was not known, but bids were expected to come in within the week. A new frame and door could be installed as soon as one week after the smash-and-grab, though Koughan admitted that may just be his wishful thinking.

Linds is no stranger to cars running through windows. Last year, a car accidentally crashed through Linds Coupeville Pharmacy, narrowly missing an employee.

The store will remain in business during the construction and repairs.

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