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Westlake: Thieves steal TVs, furniture from store

11:42 PM, May 21, 2012   |    comments
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WESTLAKE -- Thieves broke into Brian's Furniture store on Center Ridge Road by forcing open a back door. They left with a houseful of stolen furniture packed into the stolen delivery truck.

"There's a table and chair set that was taken from here.  It was in cherry wood, it was a planked top," said Renee Grace as she walked from one end of the store to the other, trying to discover just how much furniture had been stolen.

"There's a mattress set that was on here that was taken," she said as she pointed to a bed frame, and moved to another part of the family's 15 year business.

Whoever broke the back window, cut the phone and computer lines, grabbed keys to the delivery truck, and loaded up late Sunday night or early Monday morning knew exactly what they were doing, and what items they were after.

"There was a brown leather chair and ottoman and then a brown leather sofa on this wall that was taken, and then a red leather chair that was taken." 

"And there's other chairs missing, a leather chair, an ottoman, a big round blue ottoman," Grace continued, finding even more empty spaces where fine furniture used to be.

The thieves made off with electronics, including big-screen TVs, leather couches, and tables. They didn't just take items inside the store but also stole the store's 20-foot delivery truck loaded with custom cabinets.

"They were for a customer whose contractor wasn't moving fast enough," explained store owner Brian Grace, "we had just put the cabinets back on the truck and were finally going to deliver them."

"There were 11 pieces, very valuable.  They were customized to his basement."

Grace's worst fears were confirmed when he found his empty delivery truck in the 3600 block of East 55th Street in Cleveland on Monday evening. Not only was the truck empty, but the thieves had put unleaded gasoline into the diesel fuel tank.

"I don't know how much damage that did," Grace lamented, as he had his new truck towed.

The owners wonder if a couple which came into Brian's Furniture about five weeks ago may be involved. Renee Grace said they seemed a little unusual, concentrating on certain items of furniture they could not afford. 

Those were among the pieces which were stolen, she said. On top of that, another person who came in after the couple said he was "just looking" at certain items, Grace told WKYC.  Those items were also stolen in the break-in.

East 55th Street residents tell WKYC the empty delivery truck had been parked at the curb just south of Broadway Avenue since about 7 a.m. Monday.

"I thought someone was getting a furniture delivery," said Kayla Wolschleger, who put her children on the school bus just after seven.  "At 11 a.m., the truck was still there, and I said this is suspicious, it must be stolen or something."

Residents say they altered police but it was not until about 5 p.m. Monday that a resident finally got a phone call through to Brian's Furniture, and reported their truck had been abandoned.

Renee Grace said the thieves bypassed other valuable items as they plucked certain pieces of furniture and appliances from the showroom floor.

"They had to be in here for hours," she said. "It had to be hours, because to get all those things out, it was just incredible."



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