PORTAGE, Mich. (WOOD) — Three businesses in Portage are cleaning up after at least one bandit busted through their walls to gain access to a jewelry store safe.
The thief or thieves got in by breaking into Paws & Claws Finishing Touch Grooming at the rear of the building on S. Westnedge Avenue, north of Milham Avenue.
They tore through that business’ interior wall then ripped through the Phantastic Nails salon next door until they reached Medawar Jewelers, where they cracked a safe.
>>App users: Tap here to see photos of the damage.
Portage police say the crime happened sometime between Saturday evening and 1:40 p.m. Sunday, when they got the call.
“We have no idea when they started (or) how long it took,” Pierre Medawar said Monday.
Medawar and his staff spent Monday morning taking inventory and cleaning up the mess left behind.
“(When) you’re in this business long enough, things happen. But this was one of the big ones,” the jewelry store owner said.
Portage Police Deputy Chief John Blue called the crime “methodical.”
“It took a knowledge and it took a methodology and obviously it must have taken some time,” Blue said.
Blue said the thieves got away with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of items, according to early estimates.
“The bigger the prize, unfortunately, there’s going to be more planning into it,” he said.
The owners of Phantastic Nails and Paws & Claws also had a lot to clean up on Monday.
“They were ready and you could tell that they went in and they meant it,” said John Mills, whose wife owns the pet grooming business.
The nail salon had to rip up its flooded flooring because the burglars cut through a water pipe.
Medawar said that he was relieved no one was injured, and he doesn’t believe any items belonging to customers were stolen from the safe.
Medawar hopes to reopen his store by Wednesday.
Meanwhile, investigators face the challenge of tracking down the thieves. The three businesses damaged by the burglars have no surveillance cameras outside of them, and property managers say the cameras inside the jewelry store didn’t seem to record the robbers.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Portage Department of Public Safety at 269.329.4567 or Silent Observer at 269.343.2100.