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Thieves Dig Through 2 Feet of Brick in Failed Supermarket Heist, Owner Says

By Nigel Chiwaya | January 6, 2014 3:43pm | Updated on January 6, 2014 3:51pm
  Daring thieves broke into the 216th Street Associated by digging a hole through an adjacent building.
Thieves Tunnel in to Inwood Grocery Store
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INWOOD — Determined thieves spent more than a week tunneling a hole through the wall of an Inwood supermarket in search of the store's safe — only to flee empty-handed when the store's alarms went off, according to the owner.

In a plot straight out of the jailbreak classic "The Shawshank Redemption," the thieves chipped away little by little through 2 feet of brick and concrete into Associated Supermarket at 5069 Broadway, gaining access through an adjacent vacant store. They finally broke through at 5 a.m. Monday, police told supermarket owner Aljenis Lanfranco.

Lanfranco said when he arrived on the scene, he was shocked to see a gaping tunnel that stretched to the unoccupied store next door.

"I didn't think it was this much of a hole," said Lanfranco, 32, who added that the supermarket was unmanned at the time of the attempted heist. "I thought it was a regular brick wall, not this much brick."

Lanfranco said that cops told him the thieves must have been at work on the tunnel for over a week, and that they probably worked at night, as no one in his shop ever heard any noises.

But Lanfranco said the thieves never made it to the safe.

"They couldn't do anything," Lanfranco said. "The alarms went off and they left."