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Thieves roll safe from office

March 28, 2000|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - A retired funeral director is offering a $5,000 reward for the capture and conviction of thieves who removed a one-ton safe full of cash and valuables from his office over the weekend.

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The York safe, containing a "considerable" amount of cash, jewelry, valuable coins, stocks and other papers, was stolen Saturday night from the private office of F. Martin Lininger, Mercersburg Police Chief Larry Thomas said.

Thomas declined to say exactly how much money was in the safe. "You'd be shocked if I told you how much," he said.

The theft was the biggest Thomas has seen in his 18 years as borough police chief, he said.

Thomas said the safe was rolled out of Lininger's Main Street office to a back alley, lifted onto a vehicle and driven away.

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Lininger said it was "an old-type iron safe" that belonged to his father, D.J. Lininger, a local funeral director. Martin Lininger eventually took over the business and ran it until he retired.

"They'll have to blow it up or use a torch to open it," he said.

Lininger said the safe also contained heirloom family jewelry that belonged to his mother, his late wife and his daughter, collectible silver coins and valuable personal papers.

"I'd at least like to get my papers back. There were tax returns, deeds and stock holdings," he said.

Thomas said the safe had been in Lininger's office at 44 N. Main St., which also is the office for Fairview Cemetery, for more than 60 years.

The building has an apartment with rooms upstairs and on ground level, Thomas said.

Lininger said he didn't think the tenants were home Saturday night. "I think they work nights," he said.

Thomas said there is no evidence of forced entry.

The thieves rolled the safe, which is on wheels, out of the office, through the apartment and out a back door to the alley.

"It took a lot of manpower to lift it onto a truck," Thomas said.

Lininger discovered the safe missing when he entered his office Monday morning.

Thomas said he has no leads or suspects.

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