In what St. Helena police call one of the more sophisticated crimes they’ve seen, burglars broke into the Padis Romance St. Helena jewelry store and made off with an undisclosed amount of merchandise.

The crime was discovered at 10:15 a.m. Thursday when someone from a neighboring business noticed that the back door of Padis had been pried open and left ajar. Police say the burglary occurred sometime Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.

With the case under investigation, Sgt. Justin Tharp of the St. Helena Police Department said the value of the stolen merchandise was “substantial, but “it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.”

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The sophistication of the crime suggests the involvement of experienced criminals from outside the area, Tharp said.

The Napa Police Department helped collect evidence, including DNA and fingerprints that will be sent away for processing. Tharp said police are looking for similar cases and pursuing several leads.

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