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Burglar takes ring, $20,000

Police say whoever broke in knew what they were looking for, also grabbing checks worth $65,000.

By LEANORA MINAI

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 22, 2001


ST. PETERSBURG -- Someone broke into the home of a 79-year-old woman Tuesday and stole a diamond ring, $20,000 cash and checks worth $65,000.

No one has been arrested, but detectives lifted fingerprints from the home in the 200 block of 98th Avenue NE.

"I'm scared," said the woman, whose name is not being published because of the nature of the crime. "What if they come back?"

The woman was not home during the burglary, which happened between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. She and her daughter were too upset Wednesday to discuss the incident.

Police said the thief or thieves climbed a wood fence and broke a kitchen window to gain entry.

No electronics were taken, said George Kajtsa, police spokesman.

"They went straight for the big jackpot," he said. "Apparently, this person, whoever it was, is either known to her or knew what she had."

The items were in a closet safe, which the woman cannot recall whether she locked, said burglary Detective John Evans.

Stolen were the cash, a woman's gold and diamond ring worth $10,000 and checks from a negotiable certificate of deposit, police said.

Evans, the burglarly detective, said the woman took all the precautions she could, including having a safe.

People can second-guess themselves, wondering if a dog or an alarm system could prevent a break-in, but sometimes, the measures don't stop a burglary, he said.

"If we had all the right answers, we wouldn't be in business," Evans said.

Anyone with information about the burglary is asked to call Evans at (727) 893-4069.

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