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Jewelry stolen from W.Va. store

April 30, 1997

By DAVE McMILLION

Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Several thousand dollars worth of watches, rings and other valuables were stolen from a jewelry store in the Old Courthouse Square shopping plaza after it was broken into early Wednesday, according to Martinsburg Police.

A large rock was hurled so hard through a glass door at Colonial Jewelers that it struck a cabinet on the other side of the room, said store owner Rod Scott.

Six glass cabinets containing high-priced items like diamond rings and Seiko Kinetic watches were smashed during the heist, Scott said.

Scott said he was trying to determine Wednesday how many items were stolen from the cabinets, and how much they were worth.

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Scott, as well as other business owners in the shopping plaza, were dumfounded by the break-in. Scott said he was surprised that someone would try to pull off such a large heist, considering there are usually people milling around the plaza, even late at night.

Police said such brazen thefts are usually limited to big cites.

"It was a disaster area," said Scott, who opened the shop about nine months ago with his wife Alison.

The busy shopping plaza, along Edwin Miller Boulevard, contains a number of stores and businesses including a post office and the Food-4-Less grocery store.

Scott said he believes whoever did it cased the shop. He said someone had to be familiar with the store to steal jewelry that quick and be selective about what to take.

An automatic alarm in the store alerted city police to the robbery about 1:32 a.m. Police arrived at the store in a minute and 57 seconds, but the shop was empty, police said.

City Police Detective George Swartwood said it is unclear whether more than one person may have been involved in the break-in.

Scott and a girl who was at a nearby pizza shop Tuesday night said there was some suspicious activity before the robbery. Scott said some witnesses reported seeing a car circling through the plaza just before the break-in.

Candi Easterday, 14, said she was near the back door of Little Caesars Pizza where her mother works when she saw someone run past the back of the restaurant about at 8:25 p.m. The pizza shop is located about two doors away from the jewelry store.

"I just froze when they did it," Easterday said.

There was hardly a sign of the break-in by Wednesday afternoon. The glass door was replaced shortly after the break-in, and the only thing amiss inside was missing glass out of the jewelry cabinets.

Anyone with information about the burglary can call Berkeley County Crime Solvers at 1-304-267-4999 or city police at 1-304-264-2100.

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