Early yesterday morning thieves broke into the HSA office at 4 Holyoke St., cracked open the safe, ransacked the offices, and escaped with $400-$500 in cash and an estimated $1500 worth of Harvard rings. They also broke into the Thomas More Bookstore in the same building and stole about $300 in cash.
Detective Sergeant James Roscoe, who is investigating the robbery, said the thieves entered both businesses through back doors, neither of which had burglar alarms. Using heavy pinch bars and crow bars, they forced open both business's safes and the book store's cash register. Then they ransacked both stores, prying open desk drawers and searching other likely places for valuables.
"That type of building could be opened with a can-opener," said Roscoe. He added that based on the way the safes were forced open he suspected "a group of professional safecrackers." He was unsure how many there were. "They left no fingerprints or leads at all," he said, "but I'm working on it."
Between $300 and $400 of the cash stolen from HSA belonged to their catering service, which has offices at 4 Holyoke St., along with their charter flight service and ring agency. The rest of the money was the combined petty cash of the three agencies.
"We put the money in the safe on Thursday," said Robert E. Lockwood 70, president of HSA "and we had planned to put it in the bank on Friday." The catering service had just collected the cash as tuition for their bartending course.
"We don't normally have this much cash here." said Jeffrey W. Willbrand 70. manager of the HSA charter flight service. He explained that since HSA usually accepts payment only by check the safe rarely contains more than small amounts of cash.
Neither Roscoe nor Willbrand said they suspected the thieves had any inside information about the unusually large amount of cash in the safe Thursday night.
Willbrand emphasized that the robbery will not interfere with any of HSA's services. "Only a few customers' rings were taken." said Gary L. Rosenthal 71, ring agency manager.
Both Lockwood and Mrs. Agnes Bournuef, owner of the book store, stressed that they would take stronger security precautions in the future.
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