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Police: Man burglarized jewelry store after entering through ceiling

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AMSTERDAM, N.Y. -- The hunt is on for the man police say crashed his way into a jewelry store to burglarize the place on Sunday.

Amsterdam police say the suspect knew what he was doing, crashing through the ceiling of Ernesto Morales Jewelry and Repair Center and making off with a large amount of jewelry, including some belonging to customers who had items there for repair.

"They just cleaned it out. They cleaned me out," said owner, Ernesto Morales.

Morales showed the NEWS CENTER a hole in a nearby bathroom, where he believes the man accessed the ceiling crawl space, climbing through to his store. Police say the man may have been at the Amsterdam Center during the day and then hid until it closed.

"Not only my business, it impacted my life," said Morales.

Morales says the thief took jewelry on display, pieces he was repairing for customers and jewelry he made and saved for family.

"Because I was saving things for years and years and years and they took it," said Morales.

Morales tells the NEWS CENTER that he does not have insurance for the store.

The impact of the heist was felt by customers too. With tears in her eyes Susan Zepperi was devastated. She says her diamond ruby ring from a friend was among the stolen.

"I left it here to be repaired and now it's gone. It's been with us so long and now it's gone," said Zepperi. "But I feel bad for even one ring. I can't imagine what he's going through. This is awful."

Amsterdam police were attempting to obtain security surveillance video Monday to better identify the suspect.

"The damage is done, so the damage to me and the damage to the customer. The damage to the family also," said Morales.

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