When Albert Owler got a call from his neighbor telling him his house had got broken into, the first thing that crossed his mind was “at least we’ve got the safe.”
And not just any safe.
It was a 500-pound steel safe that cost $1,000 and took four men and a hand cart to get into his Dania Beach home. It was bolted to the floor of a back bedroom.
No way anybody was going to steal that, right?
The crafty burglars managed to pry the safe lose. To add insult to injury, the burglars used Owler’s own tools.
They made off with the safe and its contents: 11 guns, jewelry and important papers.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Owler, who has lived in his Dania Beach home for more than a decade. “I guess if you want something bad enough.”
Now, the Broward Sheriff’s Office is looking for the people behind the heist that took place the morning of Jan. 18.
This week police released surveillance video showing two men using Owler’s credit card to buy dog food and other items at a Family Dollar in Tamarac.
“It is an extreme concern for us to get the people responsible for this,” said BSO spokeswoman Keyla Concepcion.
In the video, the two men can be seen at the register buying the items, but both faces are hard to see clearly.
Concepcion said they are hoping someone will recognize the pair.
“We need to get the guns off the street,” she said, adding that the burglars probably had no idea what they were stealing when they grabbed the safe.
Owler said he purposely got the safe that opens with a combination to hold his skeet shot gun collection, which includes several guns that were given to him by his late father. He said the guns are valued at about $20,000.
“I figured if someone ever broke in, at least they wouldn’t get my guns,” he said. “Those guns can’t be replaced.”
The safe also held about 17 years worth of birthday, anniversary and holiday jewelry gifts for his wife.
“We religiously locked things in there because we thought it was safe,” he said.
Besides the ripped carpet and holes left behind by the missing safe, the burglars also manages to ransack the home. Owler said he believes the burglars entered through a bathroom window.
Owler said he has resigned himself to the idea that he will probably never get his guns or jewelry back, but an arrest would mean “vindication.”
“These people need to be off the street,” he said, “They are bad for society.”
Anyone with information about the burglary or the men seen on the video is asked to call BSO Detective Eric Rodriguez at 754-300-0856 or Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477 or www.browardcrimestoppers.org. A reward of up to $1,000 is available for information leading to an arrest.