Tacoma business owner describes burglary ‘like a scene out of a movie’ after thieves steal thousands

TACOMA, Wash. — A Tacoma business was burglarized on Christmas, with thieves filling up two vehicles with about $50K worth the silver bars and coins.

It happened at the Tacoma location for Bellevue Rare Coins. The business didn’t learn they’d been cleared out until the day after Christmas.

The suspect used a Hollywood-style tactic to get in.

Bellevue Rare Coins’ owner, Eric Hoolahan said the burglars broke into the vacant building next door. They used a sledgehammer to break through the cinderblock and a saw to cut through the drywall to get into Hoolahan’s business. He said he thinks the burglars knew the room’s layout because they put something on a pole to block a motion sensor in that room. It tripped an alarm, but they avoided the camera in the room so when the owner checked in real-time, he only saw an empty room.

“I think that was the goal was to make it look like a malfunction,” said Hoolahan. “It’s very strange, they understood quite a few things here.”

He also said it seemed like they even knew where to aim when breaking through, and where not to go once inside.

“They were aware of where they needed to come through and splitting this wall perfectly, that’s the scary part,” said Hoolahan. “They avoided all of those motion sensors for the lights as well as any other sensor that would have triggered the alarm.”

Hoolahan believes the burglars broke through the wall around 6 a.m. because that’s when they covered the motion sensor.

The building’s alarm brought an officer to the store, they arrived around 8 a.m., didn’t see anything, and left. That officer stopped by in between the burglars loading up two separate vehicles with stolen silver bars and coins. One around 7 a.m., the other just after 9 a.m.

“They opened one of the cages and took a lot of collector coins, a lot of silver bars,” said Hoolahan. “This is about $500 for this tube, in that neighborhood. So each one of these tubes would be $500 so like $1,000, $2,000, $3,000, $4,000, $5,000.”

Hoolahan said the crime scene didn’t feel like real life.

“It was like a scene out of a movie,” he said. “Where this just was coins strewn all the way out to the door. It was literally a trail of silver coins where they were rushing this stuff out and it was falling along the way, all the way out to the neighbor’s building.”

The business didn’t learn about the break-in until the day after it happened and called Tacoma Police.

“They didn’t even send a detective,” Hoolahan said. “The officer that was here commented on that. He really thinks they should have but they didn’t.”

KIRO 7 reached out to Tacoma Police to learn why a detective never showed up.

Tacoma police said a Sergeant is assigned to the case. If a detective is assigned, the earliest that’ll happen is Wednesday.

Hoolahan said this isn’t the first time his business has been broken into. Last time, platinum bars were stolen.

He said he tracked down one of them, being resold. After that incident, he said he learned doing that again wasn’t worth his time.

“With that situation with one bar that I had matching serial numbers on, it was a $10k [platinum] bar they gave me no assistance on,” he said. “They see the person that’s selling it. They did nothing. You think they’re going to do something extra if I have a serial number on a $25 silver bar?”

Bellevue Rare Coins is offering a $5,000 reward for anyone with information on who burglarized the Tacoma location on Christmas morning.