Archive for Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Thieves cut through walls to access safe at Douglas County treasurer’s satellite office

May 25, 2010

It’s a scene straight out of a movie. Suspects tunnel their way through two Lawrence businesses to get to a safe inside the Douglas County Treasurer’s satellite office, 2108 W. 27th St.

Jim Morgan owns the vacuum sales shop, Mor Tech, where the crime started. When he and his partner showed up for work Saturday morning, they were shocked by what they found.

“I was a deer in the headlights,” Morgan said.

Someone had broken the deadbolt on the exterior door to the business, then used a vacuum cord to secure the door from the inside. When the employees tried the rear door, it was still locked, leading them to believe someone was still inside. But when they made their way to the back of the business, they discovered someone had cut a hole in the wall in the bathroom, leading to Planned Parenthood next door.

“Interesting enough, being that Planned Parenthood is next door, our first thought was that it was someone who was possibly not happy with them,” Mor Tech employee Ken Jenkins said.

Douglas County Administrator Craig Weinaug said the suspect or suspects didn’t stop there. Thieves cut through the drywall directly behind the safe in the treasurer’s office.

Douglas County Treasurer Paula Gilchrist said the suspects stole more than $3,000 in cash from the safe but left all of the checks behind.

Gilchrist also said the suspects did not have access to any personal information, because that is all stored on computer.

According to police reports, Planned Parenthood reported $3,100 in damage to the building and $1,600 of electronics damaged or destroyed. The treasurer’s office sustained more than $5,400 in damage or destroyed property.

Weinaug also said that anybody who conducted business Friday at the treasurer’s satellite office and paid in cash will receive credit for paying their taxes.

Those who discovered the crime said they hope police apprehend the person who’d stoop to steal taxpayer money.

“We do hope they catch this person,” Jenkins said. “People who take off with the county’s money should get what’s coming due to them.”

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