A Berkeley couple is offering tens of thousands of dollars to anyone who can help them get back a 300 pound safe stolen from their home.
It was filled with more than a half-million dollars in valuables -- some of which can’t be replaced.
The couple says they know Berkeley police detectives are overwhelmed with crimes and understaffed, and have run the course with this investigation, so now they’re offering a $40,000 reward for the return of the safe and its contents – even if that means giving the money directly to the people who stole it.
They don't want to be identified, but the husband and wife say they were only gone for a couple of hours on August 3.
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“He arrived at 2:22,” said the wife.
That’s when a security camera at their Berkeley home captured video of a man wearing gloves and a unique hoodie with writing on it.
“Which says, 'push it to the limit on it' – and it’s an expensive outfit,” she said.
After pushing the camera up, he broke in through a glass pane on a side door and went right to the master bedroom closet and to the safe that was stuffed with numerous family heirlooms and other pieces of jewelry – all near and dear to this couple and their family.
“Some go as far back as the mid 1800s, and some are new. But every piece has a story,” said the wife.
Deep dents in the wooden staircase and long scratches on the upstairs landing and across the bedroom floor was all they needed to see to know what happened.
“And then I knew. I knew it was gone, but I went over and looked and yes it was gone,” she said.
The thief cut cables to the security camera so there are no images of another man who they say drove up a short time later in what a neighbor described as a small white SUV.
No video of the men wrapping the 300-pound safe in a homemade quilt and guiding it down the stairs and into the vehicle.
And no clue to who did it. That's why they’re offering $40,000 for its return, even if it means giving the cash to the thieves themselves.
“It would be a heck of a lot easier to do that than to figure out how to get into the safe and then to go through the risks of distributing it,” said the couple. “There’s a bit of good in everybody, and then it’s perhaps a chance for them to take a new direction.”