By Jeff Wagner

MANKATO, Minn. (WCCO) — A burglar in southern Minnesota broke through a wall in order to steal some change.

It happened at FW3 Coins over the weekend.

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The thief ran off with several thousand dollars’ worth of coins. But how the thief managed to get inside surprised everyone from the owner to his customers.

“I just didn’t know what to think. If I should be sad, if I should be happy, if I should be upset, if I should be yelling,” said owner Samir Fox-Wahab after the discovered his store was burglarized. “This is the first time I felt like I think I’ve been violated. It’s not just the money. The money is a problem too but just the fact that somebody broke into my store.”

Fox-Wahab said the thief grabbed about $3,600 in collectible coins, the highest value being a four coin set worth $199. His display case was just about half full, but Fox-Wahab said the shelves are normally fully stocked. Luckily, he said his most expensive items including gold coins were locked away in his safe.

At first he couldn’t make heads or tails of how the thief committed the crime, until he stepped behind his back door leading into the building where his store is located.

“[The thief] took their time, planned it I guess because they knew exactly where they were going, what they were gonna do,” he said.

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After talked with police, Fox-Wahab said it appears the thief broke into the building through a locked door and then into a locked bathroom. In the bathroom stall, a large hole was smashed through the drywall. It was large enough for a person to crawl through, leading directly to FW3 Coins’ back door within the building.

(credit: CBS)

“I think I’m very lucky. I mean if they broke the (front) window that would have probably been $10,000 to fix and then it would have been a big issue,” he said.

He was still able to open his doors to his customers Monday, many of whom were devastated to hear the news. Having them visit the store lightened his mood as the day went on.

“All day all my customers been coming in just very sorry for what happened, offering to help any way they can,” he said.

The store has a surveillance system, however Fox-Wahab believes it was unplugged when the thief busted through the store’s back door.

He said he plans to keep more items in his safe from this point on or potentially invest in a second safe.

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Fox-Wahab also reached out to his friends in the coin collecting business, asking them to keep an eye out for his stolen merchandise. He said police will notify local pawn shops about the crime as well. Anyone who thinks they have information about the burglary can call Mankato Police at 507-387-8700.

Jeff Wagner