Museum broken into over weekend

December 28, 2018

BELLE FOURCHE — Over the weekend, the Tri-State Museum and Visitor Center in Belle Fourche was broken into, and staff thinks an unknown amount of cash was stolen from a donation box.

Police Chief Marlyn Pomrenke told the Pioneer Wednesday that museum staff reported the burglary to officers Sunday morning.

He was unsure how much cash was stolen from the donation box.

Kristi Thielen, museum director, said that a door located on the back deck of the visitor center was broken and she guessed that cash was stolen from of a donation box dedicated to assist with funding an expansion to the complex.

“I can tell you that they (the thief or thieves) didn’t get much because there was $487 still there,” she said.

Thielen said that museum staff had emptied the donation box within the last few months.

“We think they broke it, grabbed a handful of something … and then took off without even really looking at the denominations of the bills because they left a whole lot there,” she said.

Because the donation box was not visible from any of the complex doors, she theorizes that the suspect had visited the center before, knew the location of the box, and broke in when it was likely dark, specifically to grab the cash from the box.

“It breaks my heart to say this, but it’s somebody who had been in there and had seen it (the donation box), and came back two days before Christmas,” Thielen said.

Pomrenke said the department does not believe anything other than the cash was stolen. Although there are no suspects at this time, the investigation is ongoing, Pomrenke said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Belle Fourche Police Department at 892-4354.

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