LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Brazen thieves hit a place some veterans consider a second home not once, but twice in a matter of hours. Two people were caught on camera as they burglarized the Pleasure Valley VFW Post 1181 in Valley Station.
The burglars, who broke into the building before police arrived and then again after police left the parking lot, were prepared. They had a crowbar, flashlights and what appeared to be headsets so they could talk to each other.
What they were not so good at was getting money. They left without any. All they did was damage the property and upset veterans.
At 3:59 a.m. Sunday, security cameras got clear views of two burglars in creepy masks going into VFW 1181. The cameras also show Metro police arriving and looking around in the dark. In the video, the officers appear not to see anything and leave. A few minutes later, the burglars watch them from the woods and go right back in.
The damage, which totals well over $20,000, hit the VFW hard. For decades, VFW 1181 has been part community center where weddings and where events for vets are held.
"It's just wrong," said Pete Pierantoni, a Vietnam veteran who is commander of VFW 1181. "We served our country and we've been here over 50 years and for someone to try and rob this place here, it's not right."
Pierantoni’s second in command, Jeff Yocum, showed us the security video and pointed to the screen as one burglar lifts another over a fence, damaging it.
"There he goes over the fence and now this guy is cutting all the wires down through there," Yocum explained.
The burglars were cutting what they likely thought was the alarm system. At 4:18 a.m., the two break through the exterior door lock. After realizing they didn't stop the alarm, they smash the ADT box inside.
As Yocum narrated, the video showed one of the men heading to the back while the second man after the building's wiring system.
"He's just going by flashlight," Yocum said about one of the suspects, "so he's in the dark."
Two minutes later, the men were out of the building and were seen running into the woods. When police arrived at the property for the second time, the security cameras show offciers looking around and then leaving. The burglars then come out of their hiding place in the woods and go back into the VFW. The video shows them trying and failing to get in the big safe.
"See him try to get in," Yocum pointed at the burglar trying to break a bar on the safe, "he ain't strong enough."
The two then leave for good, walking back into the woods as daylight comes.
"When they are brave enough to observe the police come and leave," Yocum said, "they're not rookies and they're not afraid."
Metro police returned after getting the security call. The burglars only got away an old DVR, that has been out of use for years. While they didn't get into the safe, VFW operators say they wouldn't have gotten much if they had because they don't keep cash there.
Anyone with information about the burglary suspects should call LMPD.