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Thieves rappel into store from roof in unusual Portland burglary

Two burglars used a rope to rappel into a hardware store and steal $5,000 in merchandise. And security cameras captured the crime from the moment they slid in.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Pearl Hardware, an ACE Hardware located at Northwest 16th Avenue and Glisan Street, was victim to an unusual burglary ripped from the movies on Sunday morning.

Around 1:30 a.m.,  two burglars broke in from above, scaling down into the building through the skylight. 

“We had a couple of thieves break in through our skylights and rappel down from the windows,” said store supervisor Drew Stefani.

Stefani said the way they came in with a rope did not set off alarms but it was caught on camera.

"We actually had a camera right where they dropped the rope, so we have one guy come in, the mask actually drops right in front of the camera too, so we get a good look at his face," Stefani said.

The store supervisor thinks scaffolding set against the building for roof work made an easy way up for the thieves. But repelling back down into the store, the second thief didn’t do so well.

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"Come through the window there, slid on down and whacked themselves right there on the end of that shelf," Stefani said. "The video is pretty humorous. At least one of the thieves kind of fell coming in, which was a little cosmic karmic relief for us."

A little comic relief seemed reasonable for Stefani and her crew; the video showed the guy was well enough to carry on with the crime.

Credit: Pearl Ace Hardware

The two men set out and stole some of the expensive items, like home security systems, high-end flashlights and power tools. Their nearly 30-minute effort was documented by a few different cameras.

Some security cases were damaged and tools are gone from shelves now empty.

Altogether, the thieves got away with about $5,000 in merchandise. They would have taken more they'd gathered but a door alarm went off as they started to leave. The two men were long gone by the time police arrived.

Stefani said they took more than merchandise.

“Yeah, that feeling of people coming into your space, it makes you feel unsafe. (And) having to spend all that time not helping customers but repairing our store," Stefani said.

If you recognize either of the men in the security video, please call Portland police.  Meanwhile, Stefani said she expects they will be adding to their alarm system to try to prevent this type of burglary in the future.

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