New Jersey State Police are searching for whoever stole about $1,200 worth of merchandise from the second oldest lighthouse in the state. Caretakers say the burglary couldn’t have come at a worse time.
Bins full of souvenirs including t-shirts, mugs, model lighthouses, magnets and more were stolen from the East Point Lighthouse in Maurice River Township, Cumberland County sometime before Sunday morning.
Perhaps more unfortunate than the break-in itself, is the fact that there will now be almost no merchandise available for purchase during the annual Lighthouse Challenge of New Jersey this weekend. East Point, which dates back to 1849, is one of the stops on the tour of the state's lighthouses.
“We’ll have something over 1,000 people through here over those two days and we don’t have much to show them for merchandise,” Maurice River Historical Society’s Dave Ewan tells NBC Philadelphia. The non-profit group maintains and operates the lighthouse.
Profits made from the merchandise is used to help preserve the lighthouse, which sits along the Delaware Bay and is considered a local treasure.
“Very sad. Very sad. I don’t know why somebody would do that,” says Charlotte Johnson, a resident of Maurice River Township.
Ewan tells NBC Philadelphia it's believed the burglar or burglars came in through the front door, although there were no signs of forced entry. The Maurice River Historical Society is having the lock changed.
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The organization and police are asking local residents and tourists to keep an eye out for the stolen merchandise.
Donations can be made to help the Maurice River Historical Society replace the stolen souvenirs.
So far, the police have no suspects.
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