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Petaluma police arrest man in smash-and-grab jewelry burglary

Surveillance video of a burglary at an east Petaluma jewelry store showed a man wearing a long coat and green baseball cap practicing a throwing technique before lobbing a large rock at a storefront window.

It took a few throws to break a hole in the protective glass and the thief reached in and grabbed a few items before running off, according to Petaluma police.

Police confirmed the video, which was posted to Youtube, was of the early Monday burglary at Gold Rush Jewelers on South McDowell Boulevard.

The 4 a.m. assault on the glass set off a loud alarm and flashing lights, catching the attention of workers at the nearby Safeway store who called 911, said store owner Terri Lewis.

Petaluma police arrested Justin Vandaveer, 35, of Petaluma, who was stopped in the area. He was carrying items taken from the window display, including 3 crystal business card holders and an antique pocket watch, according to police. The items were worth $570.

“Everything is in the safe except some fun stuff in the windows. We may start pulling that too,” Lewis said.

She said her husband Rick Lewis had recently upgraded security at their businesses, including putting in window glass that is difficult to break. “He said ‘one day you'll thank me.'”

Vandaveer was arrested on suspicion of burglary, possessing stolen property and violating his probation, police said. He remained in the Sonoma County Jail Wednesday in lieu of $10,000 bail.

See security footage from the store here:

You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 707-521-5412 or randi.rossmann@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter@rossmannreport.

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