Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Crafty Burglars Target 3 Businesses in 3 Days; Perpetrators Made Precise Attacks on Safes, Then Vanished before Detection

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Crafty Burglars Target 3 Businesses in 3 Days; Perpetrators Made Precise Attacks on Safes, Then Vanished before Detection

Article excerpt

Byline: DANA TREEN

For the third time in as many days, cunning burglars have used methods that seem straight out of Ocean's Eleven or an episode of MacGyver in precise heists in Jacksonville and Neptune Beach that were undetected until the perpetrators had disappeared.

In the latest, thieves tried Tuesday to break open a safe after dropping down a roof vent in an adjoining business then tunneling through a bathroom wall to a Subway sandwich shop next door.

A jewelry store and credit union were hit previously. Though police were still determining the exact amounts stolen, they estimate $75,000 in merchandise was taken in the jewelry store break-in.

The entire safe was taken from the Neptune Beach credit union.

Police reports and trails of damage point to determined thieves who were exacting in their planning.

In the first of the three break-ins, they cut through the walls of three side-by-side businesses in a Cassat Avenue strip center Sunday and into the wall directly behind two standing safes at Minh Ngoc Jewelry.

Tasha Quigley works next door at a driving school and was called to the business by police before 6 a.m. Monday.

Quigley said when she opened the classroom door at the school, she and police saw cutting tools, a power cord and empty jewelry trays thrown on the floor and holes exposing the safes. A hole in one safe passed through a sandwich of two steel sheets and a concrete filler.

She said the thieves used the bathroom and stacked classroom chairs out of the way.

"They even took our smoke detector and threw it away," she said.

Access holes cut in the walls avoided obstructions and stayed away from the fronts of the shops, she said.

"Just for them to know where to come in is odd," she said.

Later Monday morning in Neptune Beach, a Jax Federal Credit Union worker opened the Atlantic Boulevard office an found an alarm panel was turned off and the safe gone.

Sometime in the night, the 5-by-3-foot safe was apparently rolled out a back door. …

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