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A surveillance video first caught the images of two thieves at 3:08am, on August, 26th, pulling into a parking lot across the street and rounding the back of Trent Jewelers in Hamilton, a local business owned by the Pontani family for 35 years. When the thieves could not dismantle the motion sensor light by the back door, they went to the side of the building and broke in through a window using a lug wrench. At this point, it was 3:31am. The alarm engaged. Upon entering, the surveillance video shows the individuals smashing multiple jewelry cases and grabbing up to $80,000 worth of uninsured jewelry, the store owners reported. They were in and out of the window within 30 seconds. Hamilton Police responded quickly, but the robbers were gone when they arrived. About 130 rings, 6 trays with 22 rings in each tray, were stolen from Trent Jeweler’s estate case — mostly white gold and platinum with diamonds and other gemstones in a more antique style, along with some other miscellaneous pieces.

The jewelry stolen was uninsured, explained Dana Pontani Varhley. “It seems crazy, I know. The reason it was uninsured is because the cost to insure pieces that don’t go into the safe at night is extremely expensive and these didn’t go into the safe because it simply didn’t fit. But generally speaking, it’s common for jewelry stores to have about 80% of their inventory in the safe when closed. We cover what we leave out, or make sure it’s not visible from the street but it turns out the items stolen were visible from the side window they broke in from. We, not thinking in the mindset of thieves, never thought to even check from that window,” said Pontani Varhley.

A family member suggested that the Pontanis post the surveillance online and there has been a great outpouring of support from the community already.

“We are a small, family owned and operated business. My father and uncle opened shop 35 years ago and I’ve grown up at the store helping there since I could reach the counter,” shared Pontani Varhley. “It’s like a second home. So it’s not only a violation of a workplace, but in essence, a home away from home.”

The family is offering a $2,500.00 reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individuals responsible. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Hamilton Police Department at (609) 689-5824.

 

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Mary Galioto
Mary Galioto is the founder, publisher and editor of MercerMe, and a lawyer. Originally from Brooklyn, Mary has progressively moved deeper and deeper into New Jersey, settling in the heart of the state: Mercer County. Formerly the author of an embarrassingly informal blog, Mary is a lifelong writer and asker of questions and was even mentioned, albeit briefly, in the New York Times and Washington Post. In her free time, Mary fills her life with excessive self-reflection, photographing mushrooms, and misguided adventures in random hobbies. Mary also works as the PR Coordinator at the Hopewell Valley Arts Council, serves on the volunteer Board of Trustees of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT), serves on the Hopewell Borough Board of Health, is a member of the Hopewell Valley Municipal Alliance, and holds the elected position as the Hopewell Borough Democratic Committee Municipal Chairwoman.

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