By Dan Ponce
8:31 AM CST, February 10, 2012
About $500,000 worth of jewelry was stolen from a Lincoln Park store in a heist that sounds more like a Hollywood script than a Chicago police report.
Dana Sullivan, manager of Steve Quick Jeweler on the 2400 block of North Clark Street, said when she showed up for work Wednesday morning she found a big hole in the back of the store’s safe, about 4-by-4 inches.
The two-ton safe is called a TL-30 because it's supposed to take even the most saavy burglar 30 minutes to crack it, she said.
"Everything was fine until I opened the door and saw there was dust everywhere. I thought the ceiling had fallen in. I couldn't figure out what was happening. I looked around the corner and saw the hole," O’Sullivan said.
Steve Quick, who has owned the business for 25 years, says there's a good chance this was some kind of inside job.
“They knew what they were doing and what's got us spooked is that circumvented our security system, which is state of the art, or they had some sort of information," Quick said.
On Tuesday night, the burglars apparently first broke into the sushi restaurant next door. They busted through the wall at the exact location where they could reach the safe, which is in the back in a small office next to Steve Quick's desk.
"So they were able to stay under my desk, tunnel under, and if you go in back, you can see the hole in the bottom of the safe," Quick said.
Where the burglars came in is the only spot in the entire store, not covered by the motion detectors, or the surveillance cameras, Quick said. The store fixed that problem immediately.
After cutting into the safe, the burglars had access to its bottom shelves.
"And then these were some of the storage containers we used to keep the gems in, and they were able to crush these and pull them out through that small hole, all of them containing gems, there was a gem collection that we've been collecting for 25 years, so it's a pretty devastating loss," Quick said.
Fortunately, Quick says, they are fully insured and nothing belonging to any customers was stolen.
"Everything is accounted for, the only things that are missing belonged to us," Quick said.
Today the staff is busy cleaning and taking a full inventory of the merchandise. Quick says as upset as he is, it's part of being in the jewelry business.
"We've had armed robberies, we do everything we can, we take security very seriously, but there are people out there, and once in a while they succeed," he said.
Chicago police have made no arrests in the case.
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