Burglars broke through layers of plaster, plywood, sheetrock and a display case to get inside Keeble & Shuchat Photography in Palo Alto over the weekend, making off with thousands of dollars worth of merchandise, according to store owner Terry Shuchat.
The break-in at the longtime business, which is set to close in October after 51 years at that location, was reported at 7 a.m. Sunday by a passerby, police Sgt. Wayne Benitez said. The burglary, he said, took place some time between late Saturday night and early Sunday morning.
The suspects used power tools to make a hole in the wall of the camera store, located at 261 California Ave., next to an alleyway, said Benitez, adding that although the power tools would have been loud, no one saw or heard anything.
"With the amount of work it had to take, it would have to be more than one person involved," Benitez said.
After getting inside the store, the thieves cleared several cases and wall displays of cameras and camera lens, Shuchat said.
The incident took place in "an area where we only have used stuff," he said.
"It was a huge take. We're still coming up with a list. We don't know exactly how much stuff was taken, but it was a huge amount of stuff," Shuchat said.
Store employees were going through inventory Monday to determine what was stolen, Benitez said. Initial indications put the loss at tens of thousands of dollars, he added.
The hole in the wall has been temporarily boarded up, said Shuchat, adding that a contractor is coming out soon to patch it up.
Although the store is equipped with an alarm system, the burglars did not set it off, Benitez and Shuchat said.
They were able to move around in the area behind the glass cases undetected by the motion sensor, Shuchat said.
A saw blade and other tools were left at the scene, which will be processed for DNA evidence, Benitez said.
"I told police, 'I can't believe it. They've come in every way except for the roof,'" Shuchat said Monday.
In February 2015, two men broke into the shop by ramming a van into the front of the store. They made off with thousands of dollars worth of merchandise, police said at that time.
Police were able to apprehend two people in that incident, Shuchat said Monday.
Anyone with information about the incidents is asked to call the police department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.