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Burglars hit store

By Monday, employees at Freeland’s Ace Hardware had the store ready for customer traffic. Burglars who broke into the business over the weekend trashed the store and made off with thousands of dollars in cash and merchandise. - Matt Johnson
By Monday, employees at Freeland’s Ace Hardware had the store ready for customer traffic. Burglars who broke into the business over the weekend trashed the store and made off with thousands of dollars in cash and merchandise.
— image credit: Matt Johnson

Sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning, burglars who broke into Freeland's Ace Hardware pulled off the biggest commercial heist the island has seen in years.

Using a back entrance located inside the store's garden area, thieves entered the store and made a night of it, stealing power tools, sporting goods and thousands of dollars in cash. In the process, they rifled through almost every shelf and drawer in the store, broke glass, and smashed open the business' safe.

"It was a mess in here, I can tell you that," said Ace Manager Jim Skiff.

A store employee noticed the break-in shortly before 8 a.m. Sunday. Island County Sheriff's detectives spent most of the day going through the ransacked store in search of clues to the burglars' identities.

The chief investigator, Russ Lindner, said Monday that other than some clues detectives picked up from the method of the break-in, the sheriff's office has little hard evidence with which it can pursue the case. Detectives attempted to lift fingerprints from the doors the burglars used to enter and exit the business, but the sheriff's office had no results back from its crime lab early this week.

Calling the losses "extensive," Lindner said the sheriff's department has not seen a burglary of this magnitude in some time. He said the burglars could have been inside the store for several hours before making their escape.

"This is something we haven't had in a long time," he said.

Helping the burglars was the lack of an alarm system at the store. Detectives had not found any witnesses to the crime by early this week.

Missing items included hunting knives, air pistols and rifles, paintball guns, power tools, fishing reels, camping gear, and the contents of Ace Hardware's safe. Lindner said the burglars used some of the tools they stole to break into the safe, which contained the previous day's receipts.

Based on the volume of items taken from the store, Lindner said several people were probably involved. He said they may have also used a vehicle to haul away the stolen items.

The sheriff's office has notified pawn shops in the area of the items stolen in the overnight crime. Lindner recommended that anyone who charged a purchase on credit in days prior to the burglary notify their credit card companies to watch for fraudulent charges.

Neither the sheriff's office nor Ace Hardware had a good estimate of the total losses Monday. Skiff said the store will change some of its procedures and security measures in the aftermath of the crime.Burglars hit store

Cash, tools taken; Freeland store ransacked

By MATT JOHNSON

Record editor

Sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning, burglars who broke into Freelands Ace Hardware pulled off the biggest commercial heist the island has seen in years.

Using a back entrance located inside the stores garden area, thieves entered the store and made a night of it, stealing power tools, sporting goods and thousands of dollars in cash. In the process, they rifled through almost every shelf and drawer in the store, broke glass, and smashed open the business safe.

It was a mess in here, I can tell you that, said Ace Manager Jim Skiff.

A store employee noticed the break-in shortly before 8 a.m. Sunday. Island County Sheriffs detectives spent most of the day going through the ransacked store in search of clues to the burglars identities.

The chief investigator, Russ Lindner, said Monday that other than some clues detectives picked up from the method of the break-in, the sheriffs office has little hard evidence with which it can pursue the case. Detectives attempted to lift fingerprints from the doors the burglars used to enter and exit the business, but the sheriffs office had no results back from its crime lab early this week.

Calling the losses extensive, Lindner said the sheriffs department has not seen a burglary of this magnitude in some time. He said the burglars could have been inside the store for several hours before making their escape.

This is something we havent had in a long time, he said.

Helping the burglars was the lack of an alarm system at the store. Detectives had not found any witnesses to the crime by early this week.

Missing items included hunting knives, air pistols and rifles, paintball guns, power tools, fishing reels, camping gear, and the contents of Ace Hardwares safe. Lindner said the burglars used some of the tools they stole to break into the safe, which contained the previous days receipts.

Based on the volume of items taken from the store, Lindner said several people were probably involved. He said they may have also used a vehicle to haul away the stolen items.

The sheriffs office has notified pawn shops in the area of the items stolen in the overnight crime. Lindner recommended that anyone who charged a purchase on credit in days prior to the burglary notify their credit card companies to watch for fraudulent charges.

Neither the sheriffs office nor Ace Hardware had a good estimate of the total losses Monday. Skiff said the store will change some of its procedures and security measures in the aftermath of the crime.

Community Events, April 2014

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