SPRING HILL — With Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day approaching, not everyone has decided to shop for gifts. Some have chosen to steal.
House of Claddagh, an emporium of Irish goods at 5596 Commercial Way, was broken into between 9:30 p.m. Thursday and 4 a.m. Friday.
Owner Ellen Timothy was still taking inventory of the lost items this week.
"It's hard to know when it's not there," Timothy said.
However, she noted, the items stolen were limited to gold and silver jewelry.
"That's what they went for," she said. "Nothing else was disturbed."
The loss included rings, necklaces, earrings — some with stones — and Celtic crosses, Timothy said. Whereas some of the silver pieces carried price tags of about $80, the gold pieces ran upward of $600 and $800 each.
Burglars gained entry by smashing a glass window, door and showcase. Hernando County sheriff's detectives estimated those damages at $6,000.
Timothy said the loss was covered by insurance. But she said she will not be able to restock the items, all imported from Ireland, in time for Valentine's Day or St. Patrick's Day shopping.
In an attempt to identify a suspect or suspects, Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Denise Moloney said officers were deciphering a surveillance video of the parking lot in front of the storefronts facing Northcliffe Boulevard in the L-shaped 11-unit plaza.
Timothy, 70, has owned and operated the shop for 29 years. Her grandparents and in-laws immigrated to the United States from Ireland.
Beth Gray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.