Indiana mall broken into overnight www.privateofficer.com
MISHAWAKA IN March 13 2012 — Officials said it’s not common for someone to break into the mall during overnight hours and have free rein of the place.
But that appears to be the case early Saturday morning, when police said someone likely entered University Park Mall through a construction area and burglarized or attempted to burglarize at least three or four businesses.
The thefts were reported to police later Saturday morning when employees were opening stores for the day.
“I can’t recall an incident like this,” Mishawaka Assistant Chief Steve Ravotto said of the break-in. “This is very rare. The mall is so well secured. Hopefully they’ll be some more answers.”
The mall’s director of marketing, Irene McKiernan, agreed, adding she cannot remember anyone successfully breaking in overnight in 14 years she’s been employed there.
It is believed the entrance point was a construction area outside the Buckle store.
It appears the burglar got into two stores — Buckle and Foot Locker — and stole or attempted to steal from two kiosks, T-Mobile and Naked Gadgets.
A construction worker told police he was sitting in the mall parking lot about 6:45 a.m. Saturday preparing to work as part of a construction team rebuilding Buckle when a white Pontiac Grand Am approach the outside back door of Buckle. When the construction worker moved closer to the car, the driver left.
A man then came from behind a Dumpster to talk to the construction worker, who asked if he needed to get into Buckle.
After the man left, the construction worker noticed the hasp and padlock were pried off. When he went inside to check on the construction site, he found two TVs left inside the store.
It was later reported that two plasma TVs were taken from Naked Gadgets as well as cash that was pried open from a cash drawer.
The cash drawer and TVs were identified as belonging to Naked Gadgets and taken into evidence.
It is unclear if the man driving the Grand Am or the man who came from behind the Dumpster were in the process of bringing the items outside when the construction worker arrived that morning.
Another report was taken at T-Mobile, where an employee reported finding all of the cabinet doors broken off and one of the cash registers pried open. No loss was reported.
A security gate leading into Food Locker also had been pried open. A store employee there told police he did not know if anything was missing.
Ravotto said it is unclear why no alarms went off and if that possibly had something to do with a power outage to portions of the mall from 12:30 to 3:30 a.m. Saturday. Police are looking into whether the power outage played any role in the burglary.
McKiernan said the power likely went out before the break-in.
Tim Erickson, electric division manager for Mishawaka Utilities, said the outage affected stores on the Indiana 23 side of the mall, where the burglary occurred. However, the area officials said they believe was affected would have likely been all but unattainable for a burglar to cut — as the high-voltage wires run under the parking lot or in a vault that was 10 feet down in “ice water,” he said.