Mega-burglary in "super safe" suburb

By thc0655 on Tue, Aug 12, 2014 - 9:24am

Here's a megaburglary ($200,000 in jewelry and whatever else was in the safe) in a so-called "super safe" suburb (Moorestown, NJ). The house looks to me to be worth well north of $1 million.  The homeowners went away for the weekend leaving a broken alarm system and THE DOORS UNLOCKED!! because it's so safe in Moorestown.  (This is so monumentally stupid my spider sense warns me this may have been a insurance scam in which the homeowners are involved. I'm sure their insurance company is going to conduct a thorough investigation before paying out.)

This is the sixth in a string of burglaries and attempted burglaries.  Notice that the most recent case was an attempted burglary. It was an unsuccessful attempt because the home's alarm system was ON and when the siren sounded the burglars ran away.  Notice that the burglars are going straight for the master bedroom to look for valuables (and that's where they are finding them).  Wouldn't it be wise to hide valuables and safes anywhere BUT the master bedroom?  Perhaps it would be wise leave some minor, "decoy" valuables in the master bedroom to satisfy the burglars enough not to look for your big stash hidden elsewhere in the house?

One unusual aspect of this megaburglary is that the burglars removed a 6,100 lb. safe from the house.  That takes some skill, equipment and strength all of which are typically lacking in the average burglar.  Judging by this and the string of high-end burglaries in this one wealthy town in a week I suspect an out of town crew with some skill and experience is targeting the area.  Those are the best class of burglars, but note that even they still ran away at the sound of an alarm system that someone had wisely turned on.

Discipline in consistently and properly using whatever anti-crime devices you have is the foundation of a safe home.



james_knight_chaucer's picture
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I think that's the trouble

I think that's the trouble with getting an enormous safe installed isn't it?

People other than you, will know about or see the safe being installed.

thc0655's picture
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Info and strategy on safes

You're right.  First, I SERIOUSLY doubt the safe weighed 6,100 lbs.  Maybe 2,100 lbs as that would be the biggest mass-produced top of the line jewelry safe.  Second, installation is a vulnerable spot (as are the installers!).  Efforts should be made to deliver the safe in an unmarked vehicle and wheeled inside covered up to keep what it is from being observed.  Third, safes are a valuable LAYER in a total security "system," which should include secrecy, conventional locks, alarms, etc.  Leaving a safe in an unlocked house, with the alarm turned off/ broken, while away from home for the weekend is so dumb it looks like an insurance fraud conspiracy.

Here's a link elsewhere on peakprosperity with information on safes:


james_knight_chaucer's picture
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Thanks Tom. I knew I'd read

Thanks Tom. I knew I'd read that here somewhere. :)

KathyP's picture
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What about the installers of the broken alarm system?

From the newspaper article: 

"The family's alarm system was broken and due to be repaired this week." 

Somebody knew that the alarm system was not functioning.  Seems like a handy piece of information to have or to pass on the the burglars.

TechGuy's picture
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FWIW: Most safes can be

FWIW: Most safes can be defeated in about a hour using an angle grinder. The Abrasive wheel can be used to pentrate steel in a matter of minutes. All the thiefs need is a $100 angle grinder, $10-$20 in a abrasive wheels and a power outlet.


Mark Clair's picture
Mark Clair
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Home security system installed

How can someone leave the home with doors unlocked? I’m shocked! As you said, it might have been an insurance scam. I don’t think the insurance company is just going to pay out. And yeah, the burglars will be going straight to the master bedroom. They know well that it is where you keep all your valuables. So keeping it somewhere else will be a great idea which reduces the chance of getting robbed. For me, I am getting a complete peace of mind because of the home alarm camera ( ) which I have installed about one year before. It adds a complete safety to my home. I don’t want any strangers to break into my home while I’m at work or travelling.

thc0655's picture
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"Complete peace of mind"

Video surveillance cameras can be an important LAYER of a complete home security "system" that includes locking locks, alarms, good hiding places for valuables, a quality safe, etc.

However, nothing is foolproof, and certainly nothing provides "complete peace of mind."  Hopefully, you won't be burglarized or robbed, but if you are I hope your cameras record more details about the perpetrators than this 7-Eleven commercial system did:

cmartenson's picture
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Posts: 5967
My approach to safes and security
TechGuy wrote:

FWIW: Most safes can be defeated in about a hour using an angle grinder. The Abrasive wheel can be used to pentrate steel in a matter of minutes. All the thiefs need is a $100 angle grinder, $10-$20 in a abrasive wheels and a power outlet.

Based on the excellent advice found on this thread, and the scary video of a standard gun safe being cracked in 90 seconds by two guys with pry bars, I have upgraded my home safe to a TL rated safe.  I won't say which one or how high the rating for obvious reasons here in public...

Additionally, I have a sign taped on the outside which states the truth; "Warning burglars:  I store my reloading powder in here.  There is anywhere between 30# and 50# of fast burning smokeless powder in here on any given day.  You are hereby warned that any stray sparks could ignite this powder resulting in this safe becoming the largest fragmentation grenade in recent US history.  Also, unless you disabled the three obvious security cameras AND the 4 hidden micro cameras each connected to separate recording and internet enabled storage and email alert systems, you are being recorded, alerts have been sent, and you have about 5 minutes to decide what to do next."

All of this is true.

And even with all of that, I still store my gold offsite, at the bank, in a safe deposit box, because that still seems safer to me given my very public profile.  So for anybody reading this with a nefarious mind, the risk-reward ratio for angle grinding your way into my home safe is highly unfavorable.

capesurvivor's picture
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Opsec for the family

Sounds good, Chris, and good luck to you and yours.

My son lives in his second upscale but not gated community in LA, where violent crime and burglaries are so commonplace as to seem like being in a Ferfal nightmare.  He moved after one home  burglary and car (alarmed) break- in where thieves smashed a window to take a gym bag on the seat. The day he moved into his new place, at night he thought he heard a dog crying somewhere he couldn't ascertain when one of the multiple 24/7 LAPD helicopter floodlights went over the house down the street.  In a common LA crime (big Ukrainian mafia unchallenged by law enforcement) someone wearing a fake parcel delivery uniform had knocked at the door and was let in by the teenage son to get the package. Instead he saw his dog shot,  was bound and gagged and left there while they ransacked the house,. They left by breaking the huge glass  picture window in back when they heard a parent enter the front door and scream on seeing the boy and dog. The dog bled to death while the thieves were there, leaving three young children devastated.

My son had moved to "escape" the crime of his former upscale neighborhood. It turns out that crime location and frequency data in LA can be inaccurate. People don't report crimes because they don't want them on record when they go to sell their homes and lead potential buyers to worry they are buying into an unsafe area. My son is getting a good security system and a series of safes but is disgusted with the level of crime and risk there. He has a Benelli shotgun  but who wants to carry a shotgun sitting in your back yard? You can get a pistol easily for home but an LTC is impossible for regular folks. We  hope he leaves LA but it is not imminent.  


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