CRIME

Burglars Cut Through Ceilings Of 2 Businesses, Take Nearly $20k

Aug 8, 2019, 7:18 PM | Updated: Aug 9, 2019, 8:01 am

AMERICAN FORK, Utah – Police detectives have been looking into whether two brazen burglaries in Utah County are connected after thieves cut holes in the ceilings and sawed through safes to gain access to nearly $20,000 in cash.

The most recent crime happened over the weekend at the IFA Country Stores location in American Fork.

“As the manager arrived to open the store Monday morning, he found that cash was missing from the business,” said Sgt. Josh Christensen with the American Fork Police Department.

The burglary occurred sometime after the store closed on Saturday evening, August 3 and remained closed on Sunday. Christensen said the thief got away undetected with between $1,000 and $2,000.

“IFA does have an alarm system and (it) did not go off that evening,” Christensen added.

The store’s manager told KSL that the crook avoided security cameras and motion detectors by gaining access to the building by cutting a hole in the metal roof directly above the office.

Investigators were looking into whether the American Fork case was connected to a recent burglary in nearby Provo. In that case, the criminals used the same technique, but netted a much larger amount of cash.

Burglars targeted the Seven Peaks Water Park during a similar timeframe in the business week – after the water park closed on Saturday evening, July 13, and opened again on Monday, July 15.

In court documents, police describe how the burglar must have climbed a perimeter fence to gain access to the men’s bathroom next to the office building. The thief then cut a hole in the bathroom ceiling and used a garbage can to climb through the opening.

“The perpetrator then crawled through the rafters and cut a second hole in the drywall ceiling of the safe room,” the affidavit for search warrant states. “There were two safes in the secured safe room… a saw was used to cut into the safes.”

During the initial days of the investigation, police were told that approximately $15,000 in cash was stolen from the safes. According to Sgt. Nisha King, with the Provo Police Department, that amount has since been updated to be closer to $17,000.

“That the burglary appears to be deliberate and the perpetrator knew exactly what he/she was doing and how to gain access to the safe room,” the detective wrote in the affidavit for search warrant. “Without a familiarity of the office building and safe room, the perpetrator wouldn’t know where to cut into the drywall in order to access the safe room.”

No arrests have been made in either case.

Police have asked for the public’s help and remind business owners to limit the amount of cash they keep inside their establishments.

“If they ever take cash for services, they [should] do a deposit as soon as the business closes,” Sgt. Christensen said.

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Burglars Cut Through Ceilings Of 2 Businesses, Take Nearly $20k