The cash and checks, all taxpayer money, were kept in an unsecured vault on the ground floor of the Municipal Building, according to Lt. Tony Walden.
A thief, or thieves, used a cinder block to smash their way into the building sometime between Friday afternoon and this morning, when an employee found the broken window.
Steven Kendrick, tax commissioner for Richmond County, said today that the vault was left open intentionally on Friday because several employees stayed late to finish some transactions due to the holiday. The vault contains numerous safes which are opened with keys. Mr. Kendrick said the money and checks were locked inside these safes.
"What happened was they pried open all of these individual safes themselves," Mr. Kendrick said. "Although the vault was not closed itself, the individual storage safes were closed and locked."
Mr. Kendrick said he thinks the vault, which opens with a code, was left open by one of the employees but that he can't be sure whether or not someone opened it himself.