Sports Collectible Shop Rocked by Overnight Burglary
America's Pastime on Broadway is the latest in a string over overnight commercial burglaries to hit Fair Lawn businesses.
Correction: A prior version of this story incorrectly stated that the burglary occurred at JJ's Pub. The confusion arose because it was a JJ's Pub bartender who called in the burglary to police. The businesses are neighbors.
Rich Budnick, the owner of America's Pastime, said burglars kicked down his front door and smashed a front showcase, making off with about $2,000 in silver coins. They fled through the store's back door, which leads into a parking lot used by neighboring JJ's Pub, he said.
A JJ's Pub bartender, who was outside cleaning up for the night, phoned police after hearing the shop's alarm sounding and spotting three youths fleeing up the street, Budnick said.
"The alarm is what saved me," said Budnick, who came in early Tuesday morning to clean up the shop. "It kept the theft to a minimum. If they had stayed any longer, the cops would have got 'em."
Budnick said police told him the burglars likely had cased the place in advance, given the specific nature of the theft. They grabbed only the silver coins from the showcase and passed on the nearby autographed baseballs, vintage sports cards and other collectibles.
While he credits his alarm system for minimizing the damage, Budnick said he feels it's no longer enough protection. Going forward, he plans to invest in a surveillance system and purchase a more heavy-duty deadbolt for his door.
After the burglars were unable to break through his safety glass front door using a large rock, they kicked in the deadbolt on the door, he said. They then used the rock to smash the front showcase and grab the coins.
The store remained open Tuesday while workers from Benny's Glass and Mirrors in Paterson installed a new glass front door.
Detectives continue to investigate the growing number of commercial burglaries around town, including five break-ins that occurred overnight a few weekends ago that they believe to be connected.
It's unknown whether Tuesday's burglary was connected to the recent string of smash-and-grabs in the area.