Police from multiple jurisdictions surrounded Medina's Castle Noel Sunday night after a burglar broke in and holed himself inside the sprawling Christmas museum.
Owner Mark Klaus said he received an alert around 7:30 p.m. Sunday that sensors inside the museum he operates at 260 S. Court St. indicated that someone had broken in. He said motion sensors were going off throughout the multi-story museum full of movie memorabilia and historic artifacts.
"They were all over the place," he said.
Klaus said he immediately called Medina police, who were joined by the State Highway Patrol, Montville Township police and Medina County Sheriff's Department. Traffic was restricted near the building, as officers with weapons drawn surrounded the former Methodist church, which also houses Alien Vacation Mini Golf.
A large crowd gathered and was kept a safe distance away from the museum.
Police sent in a dog to search the building. The suspect was found on the third floor, attempting to escape by throwing anything he could get his hands on at the windows, several of which broke.
Medina police say the incident actually started earlier in the evening outside of a restaurant two blocks northeast of the museum. Police were called to Dominic's/JoJo's, 221 S. Jefferson St., responding to reports that several cars had been broken into, and the contents strewn about the parking lot. The museum and miniature golf had already closed for the evening.
Police say a chase began, and it ended at the museum, where the suspect threw himself through a window at the rear of the building to hide inside. Police took up defensive positions around the block to await mutual aid.
At some point, the suspect, who police have not yet identified, pulled the fire alarm during his 45-minute run in the museum.
The suspect was taken into custody without further incident.
Klaus said it appears the priceless collection that includes original costumes and sets from movies like "The Grinch," "Jingle All the Way" and "Elf" were not harmed.
But there is some damage in the Grand Hall to some fencing and to the Gummy Bear store window display, where the suspect attempted to break out at one point.
Klaus struggled to hold back tears as officers with assault weapons searched the museum.
"I put my heart and soul into this place," he said.
Thankful that no one was hurt and the collection remains intact, Klaus said, he plans to thank Medina Police and neighboring departments.
"We're going to turn this into something good," he said. "We are going to do a Christmas in July for law enforcement to show our appreciation."
Craig Webb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.