Monroe police investigating two ‘smash and grab’ burglaries
More than $50,000 in merchandise stolen from Monroe Jewelers

Photos provided by Monroe Jewelers A burgler made off with more than $50,000 worth of jewelry in a "smash and grab" at Monroe Jewlers last week.

MONROE — Two businesses in Monroe are dealing with the aftermath of recent “smash and grab” burglaries, with one business suffering a loss of more than $60,000 in stolen merchandise and damage.
Monroe Jewelers owner Kevin Lesser woke up to the news that at around 3:52 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 7, an intruder had smashed the front door of his family’s jewelry store and made off with a significant amount of jewelry. The burglar smashed the glass showcases and wall cases to steal the pieces on display.
“They stole a lot of estate jewelry, gold chains, pendants, religious medals, pearls,” Lesser said. “Right now, preliminary estimate is about $50,000.”
The longtime business, touted as Orange County’s oldest jeweler since 1921, also suffered at least $10,000 in damage.
This incident is ‘just different’Lesser said that occasionally, the Monroe business will see a window break incident, but nothing like this latest burglary. In the early 2000’s, their former Chester store suffered a significant burglary similar to this, but with the holiday shopping season in full swing, he said this incident is “just different.”
“Emotionally, it’s not easy,” Lesser said, “but we get through it. Unfortunately, the estate jewelry is not replaceable because it’s more unique, but we’re doing the best we can.”
Despite the damage, the store is back up and running, with the store open seven days a week until Christmas. Right now, Lesser said they are mainly working on replacing some of the merchandise that was stolen, but replacing some of the glass will have to wait until after the holidays.
Lesser also said the community response has been amazing. They have received an onslaught of Facebook messages, text messages, phone calls and people coming into the store to see if they’re okay, how they’re doing and if they can do anything to help.
“I could have had hundreds of people here helping, it’s unbelievable,” he said. “Really nice to see all of the wonderful comments.”
Monroe police are investigating the incident and say the suspect is a male wearing dark clothing who left the scene on foot into the municipal parking lot. While they have some leads in this case and have recovered evidence from the scene, police are asking the public to call if they saw anyone in the area during that date and time.
The public can call Detective Luke Fremgen at the Monroe Police Department at 782-8644 or for anonymous calls, leave a message on their TIPS line at 492-TIPS (492-8477).
Second burglaryMonroe police are also investigating another “smash and grab” style burglary that happened earlier in the week, on Monday, Dec. 4.
Police say that a male subject wearing gloves and a full face mask broke into the Smoke and Puff store located at 817 Route 17M by throwing a rock through the glass door. The suspect entered the store and removed the cash register, fleeing the scene on foot in an unknown direction.
According to Monroe Police Chief David Conklin, they do not know how much money was in the cash register at the time it was stolen.
“We do not know for sure if these two burglaries are related,” Conklin said, “however, there are a lot of similarities in both.”
Police recovered some evidence and video footage from the scene, but are asking if anyone saw anyone in the area that night to call the Monroe police department or the TIPS line.