Thieves break safe with store tools

Hartman’s True Value loses cash, vandalized

Charlie Hartman, owner of Hartman’s True Value, went to work on Jan. 18 only to find that someone had broken in overnight.

“They stole all the cash, they opened my safe, they ransacked my office and they vandalized a lot of other stuff in the store,” Hartman said.

It appears that the burglars only brought two crowbars with them and vandalized most of the store with its own products.

“They used all the tools from the store to do what they did,” Hartman said.

Whoever broke in apparently entered through the back of the store, cut the phone lines and destroyed the store’s burglar alarm by smashing it with a sledge hammer, according to Hartman.

The lines to Hartman’s surveillance cameras were also cut.
Capt. Pat Yoes, with the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office, said that whoever broke in was “obviously familiar with surveillance equipment.”

Despite the regular patrol that covers the entire parish, Hartman was the first to realize his store had been burglarized.

Yoes said it is probable that the patrol did not see the break-in taking place because the perpetrators entered through a back window that was not easily viewed from the road.

Hartman said that although the patrol did not see the burglary, the police have been very thorough with their investigation.

“They came in and dusted everything for fingerprints and took evidence. I’m only a little disappointed at this point because I haven’t gotten my complete police report on it yet. My insurance company is waiting on it,” Hartman said. “They also requested the hard drive from my camera system so we took it out and have it for them but they haven’t picked it up yet. I just wish they would move a little bit faster.”

Hartman said he has “no idea whatsoever” who could have committed the theft and destruction. However, Hartman does believe that the burglary at his store is linked to a burglary at another Boutte business on the same night.

The second burglary occurred at a cash advance store in Boutte where the thieves appear to have entered through the ceiling tiles, dismantled the security system and robbed the safe, according to the police report.

“Of course, there’s some similarities between the two but we still need to make that connection,” Yoes said.

The burglaries are currently under investigation and anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 985-783-1195.


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