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Elaborate burglary nets $225K of jewelry from Fayetteville pawn shop

Posted April 14, 2011

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— Fayetteville police say at least two people staged an elaborate burglary at pawn shop last month, cutting through the roof and walls of the store and into a concrete vault to steal more than $200,000 in jewelry, cash and electronics.

"You can tell it was well planned," said Shari Groover, general manager of Cross Creek Pawn and Jewelry. "I don't know if they've been casing the place for awhile."

"It would have taken one person or numerous people quite a bit of planning to pull something like this off," the store's operations manager, Ted Baltes, said.

First, police said, someone set off the outside alarm at the store at 7129 Cliffdale Road around 10 p.m. March 29. Officers went to the store but did not see anything out of the ordinary.

"There were no signs of a break-in or anything in the building, so they left," Groover said.

That's when the burglars got to work.

They cut a hole in the ceiling, then entered the building and disabled the alarm system, police said. Next, they cut a hole in a rear wall to bring in jackhammer, then blasted through the 8-inch-thick concrete vault, where the jewelry and cash was stashed.

Around 3:30 a.m. on March 30, an alarm inside the store went off, and a manager responded. Jewelry Elaborate sting hurts Fayetteville pawn shop

"As he walked in, he could hear someone talking over a walkie-talkie," Groover said.

The burglars left behind that radio but, police said, made off with $225,000 worth of jewelry, $3,500 in cash and $3,000 worth of computer equipment.

Store employees said the store is just about as secure as it could be.

"We have some of the best security here that money can buy," Baltes said. "Minus having 24-hour guards, there's not really much more we can do in this business."

A fence topped with razor wire runs around the property, bars cross the windows, and employees can monitor surveillance cameras from home. Police said there is video footage of the incident, which they haven't released. An intruder's head is covered with a shirt, police said.

Police said this kind of heist is very rare in the Fayetteville area. Groover said detectives compared it to "something out of 'Ocean's Eleven'" – a classic movie about three simultaneous heists of Las Vegas casinos.

Groover said she wonders if a former worker might be involved or someone else familiar with the store who knew exactly where to go for the jewelry. She gave a list of repairmen and other people who have worked in the building to detectives.

"It's kind of a little eerie, honestly," she said.

The store is offering a "substantial" reward for information that solves the case, she said.


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  • thinkin out loud Apr 14, 2011

    ifcdirector wrote: These officers need to be retrained on the very, very, very basic rule that many burglars do exactly this after triggering an alarm and that follow up at the site needs to take place within the hour to make sure all is as it seems.

    The officers do not need any retraining. They don't have time to go back and check every alarm the next hour. They respond to so many false alarms that are false they would spend the entire shift doing follow ups. Most of the time the owners/managers will not even come out if everything appears to secure from the outside. It is their responsibility to check the store better not the police.

    If this business had the most elaborate security system how did this happen. I don't think there system was as good as they thought.

    I dont think the Police need any retraining and I don't think the business had the most elaborate security system

  • ifcdirector Apr 14, 2011

    These officers need to be retrained on the very, very, very basic rule that many burglars do exactly this after triggering an alarm and that follow up at the site needs to take place within the hour to make sure all is as it seems.

  • seaturtles246 Apr 14, 2011

    It may be time to invest in some $$$ to put bars on the roofs.

  • BuglessDuster Apr 14, 2011

    Inside job.

  • dogluvr26 Apr 14, 2011

    I doubt it'll take long to determine who did it. The average person is not going to know the internal logistics of a store to this degree unless they frequent it or they work (or have worked) there. Either way, that narrows down the pool pretty quickly. And it's usually the person you least suspect.

    When I worked as a bank teller during college, one of our customers (who was the police chief's son & a bank security consultant) was arrested for committing a rash of bank robberies in the area. Because he knew all the inner workings of bank security measures, he got away with it for some time. But only someone with that level of knowledge could've done what he did--just like whoever did all of this.