HAWLEY -- A theater is the latest victim of a string of break-ins in part of Wayne County. Someone left a mess behind just before a week of rehearsals for shows.
Police are investigating several cases in Hawley where businesses were hit by burglars within the past month or so. The most recent break-in was at the Ritz Company Playhouse.
About 50 young actors were rehearsing for "Cinderella" inside the theater on Keystone Street Tuesday, one day after they showed up to find the place a mess, the handiwork of burglars.
"The stage was very white, there was dust on the seats," said Nolan Glauner, a member of Ritz Bitz.
"I saw there was a mess. I could tell something was awkward," added Maria Kannebecker, also a member of the children's performing group.
The folks at the Ritz said those burglars broke in sometime Sunday and sprayed the entire place with a fire extinguisher making a mess to clean up. The Ritz Bitz kids ended up helping clean up because as the saying goes, "the show must go on."
"We stayed here. We cleaned, did theater games," said director Caroline Lehman. "We sang all the songs from the show from front to back twice."
The second break-in within a week at the theater is upsetting, said Lehman.
"I cried for half an hour. I did because I put my heart and soul into the place."
Police are also investigating recent break-ins at the American Legion, a deli, and other locations all within the past several weeks.
Now the Ritz Company Playhouse is taking extra measures to keep burglars out and the kids are back to rehearsing for next month's performances.
"I was like, who would do this? These people work so hard to make such amazing productions and these people just ruin it for them," added Glauner.
State police are helping Hawley Police with the investigation. Officials believe they're close to catching whoever's behind the rash of burglaries.