After an 18 minute visit by two men Friday night, a Billings business says it's now missing approximately $13,000 worth of gold coins.
The two men, one of them wearing a hat and a long dark coat, entered Grizzly Gold and Silver at 2450 King Ave. W. around 5:45 p.m., near closing time, a quiet point in the day.
They approached the counter and began speaking to a clerk and making a variety of requests to divide the clerk's attention, store manager Roger Bruckner said.
"They were asking to see more products and stuff like that, just kind of overwhelming in their request to see more stuff and doing distracting stuff like asking for a cardboard box to put stuff in. They'd put some stuff in and take it out. It's a distraction type thing."
The men asked for the cardboard box to put items into so that they could come back for them on Saturday, according to Bruckner. When they left the store, they hadn't made a single purchase.
Of the two men, the one wearing a hat and a long dark coat is the one Bruckner believes was slipping coins off the display tray and into his pocket.
Bruckner said after speaking with his clerk, they're beginning to believe the man was only pretending to put items in the cardboard box and was actually pocketing those as well.
"As you go back and watch the video, you can observe him palming the stuff and we do have pictures of it actually going into his pocket," Bruckner said. "Neither of us recognize them."
It was only a couple minutes after the men left that the employee realized merchandise was missing, Bruckner said. The employee went outside to look for the alleged thieves but they were gone.
This is the second time the store has been stolen from since its Billings location opened about four years ago. The store is packed with security cameras and the last thief was quickly caught after video was distributed on social media, according to Bruckner.
In all, there are 12 gold coins missing. The approximately $13,000 value of the merchandise means the alleged theft could be a felony if charges are ever filed.
The Billings Police Department went to the store and took a report and Grizzly Gold and Silver is working to provide them with photos and video to assist in finding the alleged thieves. A post with photos and videos will be posted on the Grizzly Gold and Silver Facebook page soon, Bruckner said.
Grizzly Gold and Silver has other locations in Idaho, Missoula and Billings. Bruckner said that Friday night's incident will lead to a review of store procedures.
A post to the Grizzly Gold and Silver Facebook page Friday night said "A reward is offered for the successful apprehension of these individuals."