MILLVALE, Pa. (KDKA) — Police in Millvale are investigating after a beloved hobby store was robbed twice last week.
Esther’s Hobby Shop has stood proudly on North Avenue in Millvale for over 80 years. Bob Mehler’s mother opened Esther’s Hobby Shop as a variety store.
“She opened this store in 1937,” the 90-year-old man said. “I was 7 years old.”
Model trains now line every inch of the store’s walls and fill its cabinets. But after two robberies in as many days, the shelves and cabinets have glaring empty spaces. Police say the suspect robbed the store on Nov. 3 and Nov.4.
“He kept moving boxes closer to the door,” said Mehler of the suspect.
Between both robberies, the suspect got away with around $5,000 worth of merchandise.
Mehler says he was by himself during the first robbery, and the store’s layout can make it difficult to keep track of everyone inside.
“When I would disappear, either go back at my desk or somewhere else, he’d run out to his car and come back,” Mehler said.
When the man allegedly came back the next day, Mehler says an employee was working the counter and didn’t immediately recognize the suspect.
Though Millvale police believe the suspect is not from Pennsylvania, he is also wanted in a robbery in Heidelberg.
While the robberies are a financial burden and have caused some heartbreak, Mehler says he won’t be walking away from his lifelong passion anytime soon.
“I’m too trustworthy of human beings, but I still enjoy the business,” he said.