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Ringwood Manor grounds reopen on Monday; burglary probe continues – NorthJersey.com

Ringwood Manor grounds reopen on Monday; burglary probe continues – NorthJersey.com.

The grounds of Ringwood Manor reopened Monday, but the manor house remained off limits as a major investigation forged on into Thursday’s burglary and theft of antiques and paintings reflective of New Jersey’s past.

Investigators from the New Jersey Park Police, State Police, and Ringwood Police have no suspects yet, though the investigation is still an active one, said Larry Ragonese, spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which oversees the parks.

In fact, State Park Police Detective Steve Franzone, who is heading the investigation, is asking members of the public to lend a hand by reporting anything suspicious they might have seen in the area to State Park Police at 609-292-1309 or 1-877-WARN-DEP. Investigators put the crime between midnight and 7 a.m. on Thursday, March 3, when an employee showed up for work and found the door open and signs of intrusion.

Just how costly a blow the thieves dealt to New Jersey remains to be determined, but according to The Record, the paintings alone may be worth $300,000.

On Friday, the state released a partial list of stolen valuables, including up to a dozen antique firearms, two antique clocks, two vases, a complete silverware set, replica dolls, one statue, and two paintings by noted 19th century landscape artist Jasper Cropsey entitled “Upper Hudson” (1871) and “Greenwood Lake” (1876).

Details on the weapons included a circa 1820 Deringer rifle engraved with the words US H Deringer Philad; a W.F. Hall seven-barrel percussion rifle; three bayonets; and one small handgun.

Ragonese said some of the items belonged to the home’s original occupants, but some just reflected the time period of the 1800s they lived in.

With some 30,000 items stored in Ringwood Manor, the inventory of stolen goods by the State Park Service was more than a day’s task but has been completed. The state did not add to the list of stolen goods on Monday due to the ongoing investigation.

Reflecting on how the thieves accomplished their crime, Ragonese said that the manor has an alarm, which they disabled. Although the manor is subject to regular patrols by both borough and state park police, the thieves managed to time their operation just right and escape detection.

Dating to 1803, Ringwood Manor is the former country estate of industrialist Abram S. Hewitt, who purchased it in 1854, expanded it and made the Ringwood estate into his summer home. It is located in a National Historic Landmark District on a section of Sloatsburg Road with few homes or businesses, but just minutes from the police station.

E-mail: rolando@northjersey.com

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