MILLVALE, Pa. (KDKA) — Millvale Police are asking people to be on the lookout for a man wanted in connection with thefts at a beloved hobby store.
Police said Friday they’ve identified the man allegedly responsible for the thefts at Esther’s Hobby Shop on North Avenue in Millvale.
Charges are pending, police said.
According to police, he’s known to drive a Maroon Dodge Minivan with West Virginia license plate NYU-251 and the other being a Gold Honda Odyssey with West Virgina license plate 2VU-350.
Bob Mehler’s mother opened Esther’s Hobby Shop as a variety store over 80 years ago.
“She opened this store in 1937,” 90-year-old Bob Mehler told KDKA earlier this month. “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.
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.
The suspect is known to frequent the Millvale area, police said, and anyone who sees him is asked to contact 911 to alert the police.