PALM BEACH — A high-profile Palm Beach house builder is the latest victim of burglars who’ve made the tony town their playground.
Don Malasky, 80, is telling Gossip Extra one or several individuals found their way to his safe in his bedroom in the two hours he was at dinner recently, then took off with the safe.
In the box were about $1.5 million in gold and diamond jewelry owned by the builder’s wife, Lorraine.
“It won’t happen again,” Malasky said. “The new safe is bolted in. It took three guys to bring it in, and I had a brand new security system installed.”
Malasky said he suspected the perp was someone who works for him, but that man passed a polygraph test with flying colors.
“It looked like an inside job,” said Malasky, who builds some of the most expensive homes on the island. He lives in a mansion estimated to be worth $8 million on the north of the town. “But it’s not like we showed a lot of imagination in picking a spot for the safe. It was in the closet in the master bedroom, the first place any burglar would look.”
Palm Beach Police Chief Kirk Blouin said the value of the loot was the highest in a long time, and compared it to the November 1995 burglary at Ford cars heiress Kathleen Ford‘s mansion. A Cuban expat was eventually nabbed in connection with the Ford job and 18 other burglaries on the island.
With eight burglaries yet to be solved since September 2016, including Malasky’s Nov. 7 heist, Blouin said they were not all perpetrated by the same people.
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“Actually, we pretty much know who did it at Mr. Malasky’s house,” Blouin said. “That suspect may have done another house nearby, and we can tell from the level of sophistication.
“But the rest of the burglaries are probably by traveling criminals.”
Statistically, burglaries in Palm Beach are going down. There were 18 last year and 24 in 2015, according to state crime stats. What’s more surprising is the rate of clearance, burglaries that lead to an arrest.
“The clearance rate for a burglary is 10 percent nationally,” Blouin said. “And last year, our detectives solved 60 percent of ours.”