SOUTH PYMATUNING TOWNSHIP, Mercer County — Security measures including alarms, cameras and a safe weren't enough to prevent the burglary of a business over the weekend.
South Pymatuning police said the incident was reported at about 10:43 p.m. Saturday at Gateway Farm Freezer Meats, 567 Rutledge Road.
Robert Sump, who owns the business and lives in an upstairs apartment, said he smelled smoke when he came home around 10:30 p.m. Sump said he initially thought there had been a fire even though the building's fire alarms weren't going off.
Instead, he found his apartment had been ransacked and a large safe, which contained "an undetermined amount" of money and jewelry, had been cut open.
"I've lived here for 67 years, and I've never even had a gallon of gas stolen," Sump said.
Even though the business had not previously been burglarized, the property did have a series of security measures, including alarms and security cameras. But the two burglars thwarted Sump's defenses by cutting the alarm system's wires and concealing their identities with gloves, masks and hoods.
The burglars were seen on camera wearing backpacks, which Sump suspects were used to carry saws and cutting tools. They also communicated with walkie-talkies, which suggested that they had a lookout or getaway driver.
Sump also found burn marks on his carpet from where the burglars cut into his safe. He said they left a "perfect set" of footprints in the driveway.
The burglars also left a rear garage door open about two feet high, which Sump said could have been an indication that they had just left.
Pennsylvania State Police and the state police forensics service assisted South Pymatuning police at the crime scene. The burglary was still under investigation as of Tuesday afternoon, Sump said.
"I couldn't have had any better protection between the alarms and the cameras," he said. "They must have been watching me."
David L. Dye writes for The (Sharon) Herald, which, like The Meadville Tribune, is owned by CNHI.