POCO SHOE SHOP CLEANED OUT AFTER JUST ONE DAY
The first days of a new business should be the most rewarding and exciting time for any owner.
But for Richard Soltani, his first day operating his small shoe store in Port Coquitlam turned out to be more like a bad dream.
On Monday, the PoCo resident opened Shana's Shoes near the corner of Elgin Avenue and Shaughnessy Street in the heart of the city.
Less than 24 hours later, the store was the target of thieves.
Soltani said sometime between the closing hours of 7 p.m. Monday and opening at 10: 30 a.m. the next day, thieves broke into the store, making off with all of his excess stock.
In all, the business owner estimated 100 pairs of shoes and 50 handbags, which retail for about $40 each, were taken from the store.
A box of scarves was also taken. The items were in boxes and plastic bags in the storage room.
The crooks also got away with expensive power
tools Soltani was using to renovate the store.
He estimated the stolen goods to be worth several thousand dollars.
A stereo, which was also taken, was found in the alley nearby.
"I lost so much but that's OK. What can you do?" a seemingly defiant Soltani told the Tri-Cities NOW.
"It makes us sad."
Within a few hours of the break-in, he already had new stock from his supplier and was vowing to stay open.
But catching the thieves may not be an easy task.
Soltani believes the crooks used a crowbar to bust a lock on a metal side door.
Though the thieves didn't touch any of the merchandise
in the showroom, they did manage to disable the video cameras.
He said the security company told him the information on the cameras was wiped out.
Police were on scene Tuesday checking for fingerprints.
Making matters worse for Soltani, he hadn't officially signed his insurance papers. He said he was so busy setting up the store for opening day that he didn't have a chance to do it.
Soltani planned to sign the papers on Tuesday.
He's now out of pocket for the losses. The alarm company was also set to install an alarm on Wednesday.
Soltani isn't the only business owner dealing with crime. According to Coquitlam Mounties, there has been a 35-per-cent increase in the number of commercial break-ins in both Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam in the last two weeks compared to the previous two weeks.
However, police could not provide specific numbers.
"We're definitely seeing a few more business break and enters," said RCMP Cpl. Jamie Chung.
Police are offering some tips to business owners in the wake of the spike in break-ins, including:
. If you discover a break and enter, do not touch anything. Call police.
. Report all criminal activity to police.
. If possible, write down the suspect's description: sex, race, height, weight, clothing, vehicle details, direction of travel, and licence plate number.
. Use good quality dead bolts with one-inch throw - the throw is the part that extends into the door frame when locked - on all exterior doors.
Despite his bad luck, Soltani said he has no interest in taking his new business out of PoCo.
"I like the area," he said, noting he chose the location because it's close to his home.
Soltani is also confident he'll able to find the thieves if they try and hock the merchandise, noting his business is one of the only stores to sell the Miss Smart line.
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