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Burglar steals over $50,000 worth of wine, other items from Bavarian Inn

By Staff | Apr 24, 2020

The Bavarian Inn was targeted by a burglar last Tuesday night. Courtesy photo

SHEPHERDSTOWN — When the Bavarian Inn temporarily closed its hotel and dining location to the public on March 19 in accordance with the state’s mandate to prevent the spread of COVID-19, its owners only anticipated having to find ways to continue making money. With the sales of gift cards, Bavarian Brothers Brewing growlers and a memoir, the Bavarian Inn seemed to be succeeding at surviving the pandemic with as little of a financial strain as possible.

That all changed on the night of April 14, when a burglar broke into the inn and stole over $50,000 worth of wine from its wine cooler inventory and other items.

“Unknown person(s) forced an entry to the Bavarian Inn, in Shepherdstown. Once inside the main building of the Bavarian Inn the unknown person(s) removed a large amount of valuable wine from the wine cooler inventory and other items,” said Shepherdstown Police Chief Mike King in a statement, mentioning that the closure of the business due to COVID-19 made it easier for the burglary to take place.

The Asam family, who own and run the inn, discovered the burglary the next morning and notified the Shepherdstown Police Department about it. On Monday, after a few days had passed following the beginning of the case investigation, the Asam family decided to publicly announce that they would offer an undisclosed amount of money “for the safe return of the wine and/or information leading to the arrest of the person(s) responsible for this break-in,” according to King.

Investigating officer Corporal Casey Yonkers said in an interview on Tuesday afternoon that several phone calls and social media messages had already been sent to the Shepherdstown Police Department, since the reward had been announced the day before.

“We’ve been working the case. We’ve got plenty of leads coming in through social media and people making phone calls,” Yonkers said, mentioning further details about the investigation would be withheld from the public, to ensure the case would not be hindered.

Yonker said that, with the help of the Shepherdstown community and continuing health of the department’s officers, the case would be dealt with as quickly as possible.

The COVID-19 pandemic certainly made it easier for the Bavarian Inn to be burglarized, and the financial strain it has caused on many local residents may have provided incentive for the guilty party. While Yonkers said any information related to the guilty party cannot be discussed at this time, he did acknowledge that the pandemic’s negative impact on the economy may lead to local residents panicking about their financial situations.

“In my 34 years as being a police officer, I’ve never seen society like this, as far as complete shutdowns. So I don’t have any ideas how this may happen,” Yonkers said, mentioning that community members can trust the SPD to do its best to prevent any further burglaries from occurring.

“We are a 24/7 police department. We work 24 hours a day, and we are making our normal checks at night,” Yonkers said. “The nighttime officers are going in and out of the alleyways, they are going out on foot and on bicycle. They are making a concerted effort to protect the businesses that are here in town and the residences that are here in town.”