As president of the Shadle Park COPS substation, Gloria Fontinell’s job is to put the hammer down on the bad guys.
Sunday, the bad guys turned the tables when they used a hammer that Fontinell had brought to the station from home to break into four neighboring Shadle Shopping Center businesses.
“As somebody said, it’s kind of like when someone steals your car and robs a bank,” said Fontinell. “It’s just horrible.”
Police are still investigating the incident, which resulted in the theft of more than $1,200 in cash and property.
Police say the burgler or burglers entered a bookstore through an air conditioning vent and broke into the COPS substation next door through a back room.
Then, using Fontinell’s hammer, the burglars bashed through the drywall partions separating four adjoining businesses.
The COPS station lost two police scanners and a pair of binoculars used for community patrols, and four filing cabinets used to store police reports.
Fontinell says the station cannot continue its community patrols without the equipment, which she estimated is worth $1,000.
The station had planned a picnic July 29, and Fontinell says the event now becomes a good fund-raising opportunity.
Next door to the COPS substation, Martinizing Cleaners manager Jill Wandshneider appreciates the irony of the break-in.
“When we first heard three months ago or so (about the COPS shop opening next door), we thought it would be great, they’ll be here 24 hours a day, cop cars everywhere,” said Wandshneider, who lost two staplers.
“Our impression was that we would be safe.”