By John Shumway

BETHEL PARK (KDKA) — No charges will be pressed if someone confesses to stealing from a Bethel Park haunted house last week.

A tenuous walk through the corridors and crannies of the Hundred Acres Manor Haunted House is not a journey for the faint of heart.

Now, the owners of the Bethel Park charitable landmark are hoping to strike fear in the hearts of those who broke into the Manor last week by turning the thieves against each other.

About $10,000 in electronic equipment was stolen from the Hundred Acres Manor sometime between 6 p.m. Tuesday and 8 a.m. Wednesday last week.

“We open on Sept. 8, and the loss of this equipment is a setback,” Hundred Acres CFO Bill Wolfe said. “These are controllers for lighting and sound, and now we have to redo all that.”

The haunted house is in the process of replacing the equipment which Wolfe says is the easy part.

“We gotta set it up and that takes time and labor and costs,” he said. “For somebody to steal from us is one thing, but they’re stealing from the charities.”

Through the police investigation, the owners say it’s clear there were several people involved.

“We know it’s a group of people, and I believe it was a fellow haunter out there that runs a haunted house or is planning to start a haunted house because of the items taken,” Hundred Acres CEO Ted Sobek said.

Sobek says whoever led this break-in knew exactly what they were doing. The house’s complex video system was disabled and the precise, almost surgical, selection of what was taken indicates a clear knowledge of what is valuable and usable and what’s not.

So they are reaching back to the old adage – “there is no honor among thieves.”

“We’re offering leniency to the first person who comes forward,” Sobek said.

Even if the person was involved in the theft, Sobek says, “Hundred Acres Manor will not press charges [against] that first person [to come forward].” And he added the person will be “eligible for the [$5,000] reward if they provide enough information to result in the arrest and conviction of the other people involved.”

Hundred Acres Manor would love to get its electronics back, but Sobek says this is more about catching the thieves.

“Because if they are in the industry you don’t want a bad apple in the industry,” Sobek said. “You want to weed them out.”

Wolfe and Sobek say regardless of the investigation Hundred Acres Manor will open on schedule Sept. 8. Sobek says the mission is what is most important.

“It’s about raising funds for the community,” he said. “There’s so much need in the community this is one way to do it.”

Anyone with information on the break-in and theft can email media@hundredacresmanor.com, send them a message on their Facebook page, or call Allegheny County Police at (412) 473-1251.

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