Gary Wayne Hall called it a ‘hefty heist,’ as he talked solemnly about the early morning break-in of Sessoms Jewelry in downtown Clinton Sunday, where the business’ front door glass was shattered as thieves made a rapid entry and exit, running away with thousands of dollars in property.
“They got us pretty good,” Hall said, adding emphatically, “but this won’t keep us down. We’ll bounce back.”
Suspects entered the long-standing downtown business around 2:55 a.m. Sunday, setting off the audible alarm, according to Clinton Police Chief Jay Tilley. Bolt cutters were apparently used to gain access.
Officers were there within minutes, but the thieves had dashed in and out in seconds, 30 to be exact, taking with them arm-loads of jewelry.
Hall said the property was taken from two glass cases. “There were only two cases shattered. That’s where the merchandise was taken. It was pretty obvious they knew what they were doing.”
Video provided shots of the individuals who entered Sessoms, but Tilley said the suspects wore masks and had gloves on, making it difficult to provide solid descriptions.
The Sessoms break-in is the second business theft to occur in August, and Tilley said officers are looking into whether the two could be connected. “We are certainly looking at that possibility. Some of their method of operation was certainly similar.”
The first theft occurred on Aug. 5 at Mike’s Hunt Shop on Northeast Boulevard in Clinton, with thousands of dollars worth of guns and ammunition stolen.
In that theft, the front door lock had been cut to gain entry. Two glass cases had been damaged and guns removed from both. As with the Sessoms theft, those believed involved wore mask and gloves and dashed in and out within seconds of the alarm sounding.
“We don’t know for sure that these cases are connected,” Tilley said, “but we are certainly looking into it.”
Hall praised the Police Department for their quick response Sunday and their continued attention to the case. He also offered his thanks to what he called a “tremendously responsive and caring community” that had rallied around he and his wife, Deborah, since word of the theft began to spread.
“The Police Department has been on top of this, and I really appreciate it,” Hall stressed. “And the community, well you just couldn’t ask for a better one. Everyone I called at 3 a.m. was right here to help me, whether it was getting glass back in the door or checking out our security system. And we’ve had so many calls from people concerned about us. We really appreciate it.”
Hall said the theft was bad, but he was grateful it wasn’t any worse. “Let’s just say it was bad enough it hurt,” the jeweler stressed.
And that hurt, he said, extended beyond just his family into the community. “This really hurts everyone. Because of something like this we simply won’t be able to contribute to all the things we’ve always enjoyed being a part of in this community. All the schools, civic clubs, the hospital, all the people we try to help, something like this sets you back and you aren’t able to do the things you enjoy and want to do to help others,” Hall said.
“But, we’ll be back. This won’t keep us down.”
Both Tilley and Hall urged anyone who might have information about the Sessoms theft or the Mike’s Hunt Shop break-in to call the Police Department at 910-592-3105.
(Editor Sherry Matthews can be reached at 910-249-4612. Follow her on Twitter @sieditor1960; follow the paper @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.)