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Billiard-ball burglar strikes Highway 49 store in Auburn

Two other Grass Valley Highway businesses suffer property crimes the same night
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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A thief used a billiard ball to smash a Highway 49 storefront window in Auburn and grab thousands of dollars in high-end clothing and accessories. And in a similar incident the same night, a nearby convenience store owner’s video showed a man throwing two similar objects at his window but leaving without entering the business. Chic Boutique was hit by a burglar overnight Saturday. The store’s co-owner said Wednesday that while the theft of Coach, Juicy, Abercrombie & Fitch and other designer items are a huge loss, the Fiddler Green Plaza business is staying with plans for a Christmas celebration Friday and Saturday. “We’re devastated,” said co-owner Patrice Rodgers. “But we’ve had a lot of customers come in since then who have helped our spirits.” The Placer County Sheriff’s Office reported the Chic Boutique’s estimated losses at $7,000 but could go much higher. Rodgers said the billiard ball was thrown through the window of the front door some time between Saturday evening and Sunday morning. The damage was spotted at about 8 a.m. Sunday by a customer of the nearby donut shop in the plaza. “In our opinion, someone had cased the store before the break-in,” Rodgers said. “They came in and took the high-end and designer items.” Rodgers said that Coach purses valued at $89, and clothing from Abercrombie & Fitch, Juicy and Hollister were selectively snatched during the burglary. New and name-brand cowboy boots were taken and 45 pairs of name-brand jeans priced at between $45 and $60 but worth in the $200 range are gone, she said. As well, 50 pairs of Abercrombie and Hollister jeans priced at $16.95 were stolen, Rodgers said. “They emptied the racks,” she said. The burglary follows break-ins in the plaza this fall year at TT Nails and The Hair Depot. Both those burglaries occurred when someone kicked in doors at the rear of the businesses, according to sheriff’s reports. Dena Erwin, sheriff’s spokeswoman, said Wednesday that the billiard ball – a red “3” ball – was found near the front door. The Sheriff’s Office is also investigating an incident at the A-1 Food Store, 895 Grass Valley Highway, recorded on a security surveillance camera at 4:55 a.m. Sunday. Footage shows a man throwing two objects, described as possibly baseballs, at the store’s window. The window was broken but the video reportedly shows no attempt to enter, Erwin said. The objects that were thrown at the glass were not recovered, she said. The string of property crimes overnight Saturday also took in the Weight Watchers business at 2515 Bell Road. Sometime between 4 p.m. Saturday and 4:30 a.m. Sunday, someone damaged the location’s door but no entry took place. For Chic Boutique, the break-in has left the business reeling but now resolved to recover. Friday’s event at the 1269 Grass Valley store includes a book signing by Reno author Joanna Philips from 4 to 7 p.m. to mark release of a book titled “Savvy Shoppers Guide to Thrift and Consignment Stores,” which features the Chic Boutique.