Fruitless break-ins strike Point Reyes

David Briggs
An unknown suspect or suspects broke into the community center, the thrift store and a boutique in Point Reyes Station Saturday night, stealing no more than coins from a donation jar and a few second-hand shirts and shoes- but causing thousands in damage. Dan Mankin, the director of the Dance Palace, learned about the break-in—which in his building was limited to ripped-out door jambs and a broken handle on a safe—from Melissa Claire, the director of the youth theater program, Sunday morning. Mr. Mankin estimates repairs will cost a few thousand dollars.

An unknown perpetrator or perpetrators broke into three Point Reyes Station establishments late Saturday night or early Sunday, absconding with what amounted to less than $20 and perhaps some used shirts and shoes. 

Doors inside the Dance Palace were vandalized, a glass door was smashed at Epicenter and a window was shattered at West Marin Thrift Store, although only the latter was actually burglarized. 

The Marin County Sheriff’s Office could not confirm that the same person committed all three acts. “We’re looking at that, but we’re not sure,” Sgt. Mark Hale said, adding that “some physical evidence was left behind” at one of the sites. No suspects have yet been identified. 

At the thrift store, the burglar emptied the donation tubs for Planned Feralhood and the West Marin Community Resource Center. 

“Twenty bucks tops. Probably not even that,” said owner Jane Vait, who received a call from the sheriff’s office around 8:30 a.m. on Sunday regarding the window, which on Monday was covered in plywood. “I would probably call this petty theft.” 

Some men’s shirts and shoes also may have been pilfered, although neither the sheriff’s office nor Ms. Vait knew for sure. “This is one of the places that is broken in to every once in a while,” thrift store volunteer Deborah Quinn said. 

Over at the Dance Palace, the intruder, who may have entered through the blue-framed deck doors, ripped the door jambs from two offices and a storage closet. Apparently seeking legal tender, her or she broke the handle off a safe but left pristine Apple computers and other valuables untouched. “I don’t know what they were thinking,” executive director Dan Mankin said.

Mr. Mankin estimated the damage at a few thousand dollars. He also found it strange that a thief who seemed purely focused on finding cash would try to burglarize a community center, which does not stockpile funds. The last break-in—other than by a raccoon, Mr. Mankin noted—took place in 2008, when eight small pieces of metal artwork depicting Norwegian runes were stolen.

“It’s upsetting,” Mr. Mankin said. “We all feel a little violated.” 

Boutique owner Dana Davidson said the vandal smashed her glass door but did not manage to enter the store. As was the case at the community center, nothing was taken, but Ms. Davidson also estimated a few thousand dollars worth of damage. 

“It just makes me sick,” Ms. Davidson said. In 25 years of business, the Epicenter, which moved from Olema to Point Reyes Station a few years ago, has never been burglarized. 

The sheriff’s office has assigned additional night patrols in the area.