Stolen Goods...and the Thieves Came in Through an Air Vent

VERONA, Va. (WHSV)-- Nearby businesses are concerned now, after the break-in.

"It's very shocking. It sounds kind of crazy for somebody to go into a business like that. They had to really study what they were doing or going to do," said Billie Jean Shipe, the owner of the Candle and Gift shop.

Billie Jean Shipe is concerned, after hearing news that thieves broke into the Factory Antique Mall in Verona through the roof. She owns a business right next door to the mall and says the situation makes her feel uneasy.

"It something you think about when you have a business everyday, but you don't really have that going on in our area that much," said Shipe.

According to police, the suspects got into the building by going through an air conditioner on the roof.

Once they were in, they took more than 6 thousand dollars worth of jewelry and other items before apparently leaving back up the air conditioning system onto the roof.

It sounds like something out of a movie, but the reality is that it could happen to almost any business.

"Take out a couple of screws, and squeeze right in there, and jump down in there and they're in," said Chris Lancaster, a HVAC expert.

Lancaster works for Virginia Plumbing, Heating, and Air. He says even that getting into a building through the AC system is quite easy, but there are things some businesses can do to prevent the same thing from happening to them.

"I know that when i build these duct systems, I can put these three by three bars welded into the duct so if a thief does jump down there and try to go, oh bam, they run into the bars and they're stuck," said Shipe.

Police are still looking for thieves. Shipe says she hopes they catch the people who did it and hope they never have another robbery like that in this area again.

"It's very shocking. it sounds kind of crazy for somebody to go into a business like that," said Shipe.

Anyone with information about this crime is asked to contact the Augusta County sheriff's office.


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