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Community supports business after burglary

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ST. IGNATIUS – A Rod’s Harvest Food burglary suspect was arrested on unrelated charges on Friday, Nov. 17, at 10:30 a.m. by St. Ignatius police officers.

The incident in question began during the early morning hours on Saturday, Nov. 11. An individual used a key to open the doors at the grocery store at 5 a.m. while the store was dark. “We have infrared cameras,” said Rod Arlint, storeowner, explaining how the incident was recorded.

He said the suspect was in the store for 25 minutes opening the safe, taking $9,700 in cash, $3,800 in checks, and six cartons of cigarettes.

“The person gained entry with a key taken from the store,” St. Ignatius Police Chief Matthew Connelly said. “One of the employees is believed to be involved.”

The incident is still under investigation so names are not being released. Chief Connelly said the video and tips from the community helped him find the suspect. The arrest was based on outstanding warrants until charges are filed.

Chief Connelly said despite this incident, crime in the area is going down in his opinion. “The calls we usually get are mostly for traffic,” he said.

Arlint opened the grocery store in 1978. He said a few people have broken into the store with rocks and taken beer but nothing has ever happened like the latest burglary.

“One employee was able to get a key and observed the combination,” he said. An employee supplied the information to another person. At first, it wasn’t known which employee was involved.

“It put all the employees under suspicion and that wasn’t a nice thing,” he said. “We’ve never had this happen and never like to think of the employees like that.”

Arlint enjoys living in a small town where he feels crime isn’t a big issue.

“I’ve always felt lucky to be in St. Ignatius and always felt supported by this community,” he said. And that support continued through this incident.

Customers rewrote checks to the store after noticing they hadn’t cleared with the bank, most likely because the check was stolen. Arlint thanked the community for their support and plans to continue keeping a positive mindset despite the incident.

“I’d rather live my life thinking better of people even if I get hit once in awhile,” he said.

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