Thieves crack safe at Big Lots

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By Jenny Hartley

Big Lots had a visitor from the rooftop late Thursday or early Friday morning, and it wasn't Santa Claus.

Burglars apparently cut holes in the roof of the S.C. 9 Bypass store to get inside and crack the store's safe.

According to a Lancaster County Police Department incident report, an employee came to work at the store about 7 a.m. Friday and found that the office area of the store had been burglarized.

Officers responded and found that the safe in the office had been broken open, the report said.

Checking through the store, officers found that the burglars got into the store by cutting two holes into the aluminum roof. A square of insulation was cut and set aside. No tools were found on the roof, the report said.

"They used one of the holes to drop down into the office," said Capt. Harlean Howard. "Some wires were cut so no alarm went off."

Burglars appeared to have used some tools for sale inside the store to break open the safe. Some tools were scattered in the tool aisle in the store.

Hammers and pry bars were found around the safe, according to the report. By the damage to the safe, officers believe something "very heavy and large" was pounded against it to get it open, the report said.

Officers found several money trays on the floor next to the safe, and a large amount of coins spread inside and around it. An undisclosed amount of money was taken from the store, Howard said.

The offices of the store were ransacked and the security video recorder taken from the store.

Officers found a piece of the recorder on the floor next to the safe, the report said. The security camera in the office had been pointed upwards away from the safe.

Howard said the store manager told investigators that the last employee left the store about 10:30 p.m. Thursday.

The State Law Enforcement Division was called to assist police department investigators in processing the store for leads.

"Due to the MO, it led us to believe that it was not a casual burglary, but people who do this as a profession," Howard said.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Lancaster Police Department at 283-1171 or 283-3313.

Contact Jenny Hartley

at 283-1151 or