Laone Benton sits beside the shattered window that was broken in attempt to steal money from the store she owns, Tuesday, April 1, At Laone's Kenai River Purse.

Laone Benton sits beside the shattered window that was broken in attempt to steal money from the store she owns, Tuesday, April 1, At Laone's Kenai River Purse.

Peninsula Center Mall burglarized

  • By DAN BALMER
  • Tuesday, April 1, 2014 10:36pm
  • News

Three businesses inside the Peninsula Center Mall were burglarized overnight in Soldotna.

Soldotna police received a call from a mall employee who reported the break in at approximately 7:18 a.m. Tuesday.

Officer Tobin Brennan said the incident is still under investigation.

Once inside the mall the suspects forced entry into three businesses, Ginger’s Restaurant, Laone’s Kenai River Purse and 27 Red Salon, Brennan said. A small amount of cash was stolen from the restaurant, but no cash had been left on the premises of the purse store or salon, he said.

By using video surveillance, police were able to follow the path the suspects took to break into the businesses. The suspects first broke into the purse store through the front door window to get to the cash register, he said.

Laone Benton, who has owned the purse store for more than five years, said she does not keep money in the store at night because the mall has been burglarized before. While no merchandize was stolen, she was shocked to see the condition of her shop when she arrived to work.

“There was broken glass on the floor and everything was shoved around to get to the register,” she said. “I sure hope (police) have a good idea who did this and they don’t get away with it.”

Brennan said the suspects then pried into the door of the restaurant and took a small amount of cash from the register.

The back door to the salon was kicked open, but no items were stolen, he said.

The suspects were inside the mall roughly 15 minutes and it wasn’t until the morning when a mall janitor called police about the intrusion, he said.

The damage is estimated at less than $4,000, with most of the damage done to the broken window at the purse store, he said.

“It is less about the money and more about the property damage,” Brennan said.

Soldotna police are following leads in the investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact Officer Brennan with the Soldotna Police Department at 262-4455.

Reach Dan Balmer at daniel.balmer@peninsulaclarion.com.

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