Rewards Offered As Police, Town Continue Search For Stolen Safe

The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office released surveillance photos Tuesday of the suspects involved in a Sept. 15 burglary of a safe in the Sherman Town Building. Town officials said the stolen documents are priceless and cannot be replaced. Submitted photo

Sherman town officials are, in the most literal sense, hoping for a safe return.

For the past two months, the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office has been following leads into the Sept. 15 burglary of the township’s safe — which officials said contained vital municipal documents but little in terms of monetary value. The theft occurred around midnight at the township building on Mill Street, though how burglars were able to gain access to the 1,000 pound safe and remove it isn’t exactly clear.

The town clerk said cemetery records, which include plot information and deeds, were among the most important documents taken in the burglary.

“Those were the only records we have for the cemetery, so they’re very important to us,” the clerk said.

On Tuesday, the Sheriff’s Office released  surveillance photos from inside the township building showing two suspects handling the safe. Police are hoping the photos will lead to an arrest and recovery of the documents.

The town clerk, meanwhile, said she was disappointed anyone would resort to breaking into a government building in search for money. The clerk said she works not far from where the safe sat and remains baffled by the entire incident.

“They must have thought there was a lot of money in there,” she said. “I think the whole town is disappointed. I’m not sure why someone would break in thinking there’d be a lot of money in here. This is a township, we don’t have a lot of money just sitting around.”

The clerk said the town is looking into additional security for the building, but noted, “This place is already pretty secure, but it’s something that’s been discussed.”

The Sheriff’s Office said two rewards are being offered in the burglary case. The first is from WE TIP, where tipsters can be eligible for up to a $1,000 reward by calling 1-800-782-7463. The second is from the town itself, also for $1,000.

Both rewards require information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those involved. Anyone with information is asked to contact Investigator Randy Boland of the Sheriff’s Office at 753-4925 or email boland@sheriff.us.

The clerk said the stolen documents are priceless and is hoping the reward offers will prompt a tip.

“I really do hope we get those town records back,” she said. “They’re really important to us here.”

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