Four alleged thieves in Keene apparently were not too keen — at least according to their victim.
However, some sharp detective work solved the case of a break-in at a New Hampshire card shop, netting police three arrests so far.
Multiple boxes of trading cards and other collectibles, worth thousands of dollars, were taken during the Feb. 20 break-in at The Dugout Collection in Keene, the store’s owner, Dick Comerford, told The Keene Sentinel.
According to a news release from the Keene Police Department, four men were identified as suspects: Joshua Cahill, 30 and James Cahill, 33, of Kittery, Maine; Bo Redden, 28, of Berwick, Maine; and Kodi Joy, 30, of Farmington, New Hampshire.
Joy remains at large, but the other three men were arrested and taken to the York County Jail in Maine, pending extradition to New Hampshire, according to the news release.
The case was solved thanks to some deft police work and the help of a tech-savvy customer. Plus, Comerford said, the thieves were not particularly good at their craft.
“These guys didn’t seem too brilliant,” Comerford told the Sentinel, pointing out the sign on the door of the card shop that advised customers — and potential burglars — that “all activities are recorded.”
“One of the things about them was that apparently, they couldn’t read,” Comerford, 80, who has owned the shop for 20 years, told the newspaper.
According to police, one of the men called 911 about 6:25 a.m. on Feb. 20, alerting police to what turned out to be a false emergency near Cheshire Medical Center in Keene. Police responded to that location but were soon alerted to the break-in at the card shop by the store’s commercial burglar alarm.
When police arrived, they saw evidence of forced entry in the building and the theft of trading cards and other collectibles.
Police were able to use tapes from surveillance cameras to determine the suspects, who spent 90 seconds inside the shop, according to the Sentinel. The men broke through the front glass door with a hammer and tried to leave with display cases filled with valuable cards. However, the custom-made cases were designed so that when they were lifted, the bottoms dropped out.
That meant the cards in the case spilled onto the floor. Comerford told the Sentinel he believed the men, rushing to leave the premises, were wearing gloves, making it difficult to pick up individual cards from the floor.
The thieves did manage to take a desk drawer that contained the surveillance video’s access codes, the Sentinel reported. However, thanks to a customer, Zachary Rokes, the videos were unlocked and police were later able to view the tapes.
According to the Keene police, officers later found a vehicle linked to the burglary. The vehicle had been abandoned in the village of Nelson, located several miles northeast of Keene, according to the police news release. Police said the vehicle had been stolen from Portland, Maine, and the occupants set it on fire in an unsuccessful attempt to destroy it. The missing drawer was found in the vehicle, police said.
From that point, Keene police worked with authorities in Maine to identify the suspects. On March 12, police executed a pair of search warrants in Maine, which linked the four men to the card shop theft, according to the news release.
“They had the case solved in three weeks,” Comerford told the Sentinel. “I think that’s amazing.”