Authorities say the theft of several paintings and silver antiques happened a little before 3 a.m. Tuesday at Jim's Antiques of Lambertville Fine Art Gallery.
"They literally smashed through the front door," said owner Jim Alterman. "The alarm went off and sirens, and they proceed to come inside and empty the building out…with no fear, apparently."
Hours later, the building was found filled with heavy smoke. No injuries were reported but authorities say the smoke bombs were strategically placed in front of security cameras to blot out the criminals.
Untouched during the robbery was a far more valuable collection of Pennsylvania Impressionist and Modernist art. Alterman suspects that the thieves choice to steal the silver is a result of the bad economy.
"Metals are super high, so a lot of them are being scrapped," Alterman said. "So a lot of things that probably shouldn’t be scrapped are worth a lot more in scrap value than in antique value."
Officials told The Express-Times that one of the suspects is a white man, 6 feet tall with dark hair and wearing a long or medium-length coat.
Authorities reviewed surveillance tapes and determined he did not cross the bridge from Lambertville to New Hope, Pa.
"It was a very targeted operation. It seems that they knew exactly what they were going to," said Lambertville Police Director Bruce Cocuzza. "We have suspicion that the place was cased prior to this crime occurring."