In minutes, the thief cut through the ceiling in Freighthouse Square and used a rope to descend into the rare coin shop below and steal a bagful of its merchandise before he fled.
The store surveillance video from Sunday morning shows the unmasked burglar’s climb, as well as his distinct receding hairline and mustache.
The alarm at American Rare Coins & Collectibles, 2501 E. D St., went off about 1:30 a.m. and officers were there minutes later, according to Tacoma police.
No suspect was found.
Owner Raymond Brandt said thousands of dollars in rare coins were stolen.
The loss isn’t covered by insurance, because he doesn’t have any, Brandt said. Insurers are leery about covering coin shops, he said, adding he was turned down by about seven companies when he opened the store in 2007.
He did recover many coins from the roof, where the burglar apparently dropped them in his haste to get away.
The thief also knocked over a porcelain doll that belonged to Brandt’s great-grandmother, cracking the toy’s delicate face, he said.
All the display cases were left intact, though.
The keys were in the cases, giving the burglar easy access to Brandt’s most valuable merchandise, he said. The oversight happened, Brandt said, because he had left early Saturday to help his son move, and didn’t come back as he planned to lock the cases and finish breaking down the store.
“I always say, if I don’t break down, it’s going to happen,” he said of the theft.
The cases are in Brandt’s private coin-screening room, where he takes only well-known customers he trusts, or people selling large collections, he said.
“I’ve built up relationships with them, where I know they’re not scoping the place,” he said.
The man in the surveillance video isn’t a customer, he said.
There have been several roof-top break-ins in the area in the past month or so, police spokeswoman Loretta Cool said. The points of entry and ladder-like devices used have been different though, she said.
Brandt hopes someone will recognize the burglar from surveillance photos and contact police.
“I want this guy caught,” he said.