Three men tied up a security guard for a Clinton Avenue factory at gunpoint early today and emptied the plant's offices of computers and other equipment valued at tens of thousands of dollars.
"We have a security guard around the clock and three men -- as the security guard was going on his rounds outside -- three guys held him up," said John A. Bellanti, president of Battenfeld American Inc. at 1575 Clinton St.
The thieves surprised the guard about 2:25 a.m. outside the lubricant manufacturer, then took him inside the plant, Bellanti said. As one gunman watched the guard, two other men ransacked Battenfeld and an affiliated company, American Lubricants Inc.
Bellanti said an inventory of lost equipment had not been completed, but he estimated the computers to be worth $75,000. However, Bellanti said it would probably cost $150,000 to $200,000 to replace the computers, fax machine, copiers and other equipment taken, along with new merchandise.
"We lost about a half a dozen terminals and a main-frame computer. You know how big those are," he said. "We were cleaned out."
The computers, Bellanti said, are from the IBM System 36 line. Detectives and Southside Station officers took fingerprints.
Bellanti said the suspects did not cover their faces, and the guard was warned not to stare at them as they rummaged through the plant.
"Thank God he wasn't injured," Bellanti said. "He was shaken up. He was nervous . . . One of the gunman told him he would shoot him in the back of the head."
The thieves were in the plant's offices for nearly 90 minutes, unhooking computers and loading them on a truck. The guard, Bellanti said, saw the truck but was unable to give a description.