California Route 66 Museum temporarily closes after break-in

The California Route 66 Museum in Victorville closed temporarily Monday after a burglary earlier in the day damaged many of the museum’s displays.

The museum reported on its Facebook page Monday morning that San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies arrested a suspect. The break-in occurred early Monday, when the museum was closed and no one was inside.

According to the museum, the suspect — identified from footage from the museum’s surveillance cameras — was wearing a Route 66 T-shirt and carrying clothing from the museum’s gift shop.

Here is one of the photos of a damaged display case posted on the museum’s Facebook page:

Other photos showed display cases with items missing, ransacked displays and a lot of broken glass.

The museum stated Monday morning:

We would like to thank the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Deputies in their quick response. Also to the many people who have supported us. The museum will be close for the next few days. There will be time needed to cleanup, take care of insurance matters, and to regroup. For now, we ask that all of our supporters keep us in your thoughts and prayers. The museum will reopen – we will update you soon. Thank You.

In another comment, the museum stated it planned to add more security cameras to the facility.

We’ll post more information about this story as we get it.

The California Route 66 Museum recently entered into a partnership with a Cracker Barrel store that will open next month in Victorville.

The museum opened in 1995 in what was the Red Rooster Cafe, a site for the 1980 Neil Diamond movie “The Jazz Singer.” It’s one of the oldest Route 66 museums on the road.

UPDATE: The Daily Press in Victorville reports the burglar caused $30,000 in damage.

The newspaper obtained the surveillance video footage shot during the break-in:

Arrested was Roy Fonder, 25, who allegedly was found with stolen items near the museum.

Museum President Susan Bridges said it will take at least a week before the facility can reopen.

Bridges, who said she was alerted to the break-in by Hi Desert Alarm just before 2 a.m. Monday, remarked that deputies “seemed to be heartbroken” by what they found when they arrived at the museum.

“This museum is part of who we all are,” Bridges said. “It holds so many memories and artifacts of Route 66 and the High Desert. I can see how anyone who lives here would be affected.”

UPDATE2: The museum plans to reopen Friday. A message Tuesday from its Facebook page:

Our volunteers have been working hard to clean up the mess from the break-in that took place early Monday morning. While there is more work to be done, we feel that reopening the museum is important to continue in our purpose. Today many of the volunteers and board members were able to talk about this event. We all came to the conclusion we cannot spend any time hating the person who broke into the museum. Rather we need to stay focus to our mission. Our mission is as follows: “The museum intends to continually promote, preserve, and educate the public throughout the world bringing relative weight to the cultural influences; and impacting effects the Mother Road had on architecture, the arts, community development, and commerce; since its induction as a U.S. Highway in 1926.”

The museum has launched a $5,000 campaign to pay the the deductible and repairs not covered by insurance:

(Image of the California Route 66 Museum in Victorville via Wikimedia Commons)

2 thoughts on “California Route 66 Museum temporarily closes after break-in

  1. So another numbskull who thinks it clever to destroy American history. Good to see that the museum had CCTV, and that a suspect has been caught – a local? Of course that does not repair the damage, or replace the stolen items. I trust the museum has suitable fire protection.

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