Brad Lee knew something was wrong when he was woken up at 2 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 9 with his phone ringing.
Lee, owner of Duncan’s Impeccable Jewellery, said the call was from a security firm informing him that his store had been, once again, broken into.
He said he headed immediately to the store to find that someone had managed to throw a rock through one of the window panes, which were reinforced with special film to give them extra strength.
“They managed to break a hole in the window pane just big enough to get their hands through, and then smashed the glass top out of one of our display cases and stole two chains and two pendants that were worth more then $2,000,” he said.
“The RCMP were here within 90 seconds of receiving the call, but no one has been caught yet. We have video surveillance in the store but not on the outside so we couldn’t provide the police with any video of the incident. I spent three hours cleaning up afterwards, so I didn’t get much sleep.”
Lee said he has insurance, but getting the insurance companies to cover the losses is always challenging.
“Insurance companies just don’t want to pay, and, while it may not be true of the whole sector, it’s been my experience that they will do whatever they can not to pay,” he said.
Lee said the store is no stranger to these types of crimes, and he has been broken into or robbed seven times in the seven years he has had the store in operation, with most of the incidents increasing in numbers in recent years.
“This has happened twice in the last five months, and the last time it was a bigger rock that cost more money to replace the glass,” he said.
“Each window costs $1,100. The reinforced windows are not as good as steel bars, but they [steel bars] look like hell and that’s not what I want my store to look like. It’s very frustrating.”
In July, 2019, Lee ended up in a foot chase through the streets of downtown Duncan after a thief had taken a watch from a display case from the store and ran out the door.
The thief pulled a knife on him during the pursuit, but Lee kept up the chase until the police intervened and arrested the man.
“That guy got just three months and free food the whole time,” he said.
“There are a number of low-lifes around here who continue to do this and the situation is getting worse. The city had security in downtown Duncan last spring in the early days of the pandemic and there were no problems during that time, but it got bad again when that stopped.”
Lee said he’s considering installing roller shades, a type of roll-down steel door, over his windows at night, or just moving out of the downtown core altogether.
“We are all fooling ourselves by thinking that we have this nice quaint downtown, but that’s not the case,” he said.
“I’m thinking about putting up a sign that says ‘Our prices are so low, you don’t have to steal it’. I have to laugh at something I guess.”