Amherst headstone business out thousands of dollars following break-in, theft

AMHERST — The Amherst Police Department is investigating a break-in and theft that occurred Aug. 1 at Amherst Memorial Studio on Jackson Street.

The company creates custom designs for headstones and monuments.

Alvin Miller, the company’s head draftsman, learned of the break-in from his son, who arrived at the business and found that someone had forcibly entered the building.

“Down here at the back, they broke the window out, crawled through,” Miller said.

Miller said the business, nestled into a residential neighborhood, has been at the same location since it opened in 1930.

Miller said several items, including a sledgehammer, several rolls of stencils and two computers, were stolen. He said one of the computers contained a program that helps create designs that eventually get processed by a plotter machine before it is sandblasted into material.

“Just the program itself was almost $3,000,” Miller said. “So right now, I’ve got a plotter machine that’s only worthless as a paperweight right now until we get stuff geared up again.

Miller said he purchased a new computer and software program, but some projects will have to be designed again. He said this would cause several weeks of delays for at least a half dozen families.

One family’s project was waiting on a granite delivery.

“Now the piece of granite is here, but we’re not; we can’t run the machine… I’m having to clean this thing up (and) start all over again. So, it’s going to take at least another three weeks beyond what they expected,” Miller said.

Dealing with the situation has been rough on the business.

“Sick. Absolutely sick. Stealing this stuff, you know, but to be violated the way this was done, Miller said. “After 93 years of being here. This company being here and never being any problems whatsoever. And then this had to happen?”

He said changes are coming to the business but didn’t want to give specifics.

“Oh yeah, they don’t want to do this again,” Miller said.

He said getting back the computer with the design program installed on it would save him a lot of time and stress. He’s offering a $2,000 reward for its return.

Dan Kordeleski lives across the street from the business.

“It’s a shame. We’ve been here about 30 years, and we’ve known them forever,” Kordeleski said.

He said it’s a neighborly community with few problems.

“Everybody here knows everybody,” Kordeleski said. “That’s the way it is.

Kordeleski has a Ring doorbell camera. He said he looked at footage from the day of the break-in, and unfortunately, it didn’t turn up anything useful.

“It picked up that there was something going on. It just saw changes in lighting- is all it was but nothing to catch any specifics,” Kordeleski said.

Miller is hopeful police will crack the case. He wants to regain a sense of peace and continue to help families at one of their greatest times of need.

“We’re here for the duration,” Miller said.

Anyone with information on the break-in or location of the stolen items should contact the Amherst Police Department at 440-988-3009.

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