It appears that the Betelle’s had a break-in at their home while they were away during the winter of 1941. The full account was printed in the June 6, 1941 edition of The Millburn & Short Hills Item:
$60,000 GEM THEFT HERE
Gaining entrance through a first floor window thieves obtained more than $60,000 in jewelry from the home of James O. Betelle of West Road, Short Hills some time during the absence of the family who had spent the winter in New York.
The burglary was discovered Sunday evening when the Betelle family returned to their home and found the jewelry missing from a chest of drawers in Mrs. Betelle’s room. The house had been completely closed during the absence of the family, and had not been inspected since May 13, when the Betelle’s visited Short Hills to give instructions to their gardener. Nothing was noticed amiss at that time.
Mrs. Betelle on Wednesday furnished Detective Sergeant Lyon and Detective Wade, who are investigating for the Millburn police department, with a list of the missing jewelry. This included a small gold pin once worn by Queen Victoria, a diamond and pearl coronet, a diamond and platinum tiara, an emerald and diamond pendant, an emerald bracelet, a diamond facet, wrist watches, scarf pin and studs, cuff links and a gold cigarette case.
Jewelry in other parts of the house was not taken, according to police.