A break in at the Judy Hill Gallery & Gifts in downtown Duncan on June 15 saw approximately $40,000 in silver jewelry stolen from the business.
Police continue their investigation of the late-night incident, but no arrests have been made in the case at this time.
Hill said the gallery has a surveillance system and security cameras, but the thief was in and out in one minute and 25 seconds at 3 a.m., so she and the police had little time to respond to the break in.
She said a large plate glass window at the front of the store had been smashed in, and the thief quickly located a showcase full of the silver jewelry at the back of the store, smashed in the glass with a pipe, grabbed much of the jewelry and exited the gallery the same way.
“The alarm company called me at home and by the time I got to the gallery, there were three police cars there already, but the thief was already gone,” Hill said. “It’s very disheartening. The gallery has been in operation for many years serving the community, and it’s so sad that something like this had to happen. We handed over the surveillance to the police, but we still haven’t heard if they are making any progress in finding our jewelry or the thief.”
Hill said she has insurance, but she has yet to hear back from the insurance adjusters on the claim.
She said the gallery has had no similar problems since about 10 years ago when it was broken into three times, one after the other.
“Those break ins almost bankrupted the gallery, so we decided to put bars on the front doors and put in the surveillance system,” Hill said.
“The thief came in through the window, which is not an easy way to access the gallery, so we’ll have to make changes to prevent this from happening again.”
Cpl. Krista Hobday, a spokeswoman for the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment, said the case is still under investigation and she couldn’t release any details on its progress.
“If someone is located and charges are laid, we’ll get that message out there,” she said.
“We know that this is a community store and there’s lots of interest out there in seeing this case solved.”