Burglar targets downtown antique shop
Downtown Gardnerville was the target of a brazen pre-dawn heist early Tuesday when a burglar broke into Cheshire Antiques and lifted an estimated $15,000 worth of sterling silver goblets, a silver tea set and a silver urn, according to business owner Karen Campbell.
Campbell said the burglary occurred around 4 a.m. Tuesday. Cheshire Antiques spans two buildings, and the perpetrator broke through the front door of the south building, which faces Highway 395, Campbell said Wednesday.
She said the business’ security alarm sounded, initiating a call to her and husband Richard Campbell, but the culprit was gone by the time anyone arrived on scene.
According to the Douglas County Sheriff’s report, (Richard) Campbell did not immediately call the sheriff’s office because a cat in the building had been setting off false alarms in the past. Upon arrival, however, Campbell discovered the front door shattered, and he called authorities, the report states. Deputies later cleared the building and found the broken cabinet from which the items had been taken.
“I think they cased it out because you can’t see that area from the windows,” Karen Campbell explained. “They were so quick that they were in and out before anyone could make it down there. Once inside, they went straight to the cabinet, where they busted it out and grabbed the sterling. They were so quick that they didn’t even take all the sterling on the shelf. They grabbed what they could, and then they were out of there.”
According to the sheriff’s report, the broken door was not used for regular entry. It was dead-bolted and blocked from the inside by two small tables, on which the perpetrator had stepped to gain entry. The glass pane itself appeared to have been shot by a BB gun.
Campbell said the stolen items, which belong to an estate, had been displayed by one of her regular dealers. Dozens of independent dealers display their wares inside the historic building, which Campbell now describes as an antique mall.
Reported stolen were approximately 20-25 silver goblets, with 24-karat gold interiors, a 4-5-piece sterling silver tea set, and a 12-14-inch silver urn.
Campbell said the incident may be related to another break-in that occurred at a similar antique mall in Sacramento around 9:30 p.m. Monday.
“It sounds similar because they’d never been broken into, and neither had we,” she said. “They smashed the cases open, like ours, and took jewelry.”
Although there is no direct evidence of a link, Campbell said the two crimes seem too coincidental.
“In our case, these items are probably going to be melted down,” she said. “They’re not looking at their antique value. Silver has gone up so much.”
Campbell urged other shop owners to be aware and strengthen security measures.
Anyone with information about the crime should call Secret Witness at 782-7463. Calls to Secret Witness are anonymous.