A downtown Vernon business devastated by a recent break in, says the community needs to reclaim its city.
Maela’s Esthetics and Hair by Samantha Marie was broken into around 1:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 1. A window was smashed at the shop, in the 3000 block of 30th Street, and an ASUS laptop was stolen and a grey cash box was reported missing.
Video surveillance shared to Facebook showed two suspects walking down the back alley, “tucking my laptop back into their backpack,” shortly after the time of the incident, owner Maela Bru wrote in a post.
She has since managed to buy the laptop back, but the incident is the latest in a series of unfortunate events for the local business, which has been downtown for six years without any problems until recently.
Earlier on Friday, Bru chased someone off who was, “literally packing a crack pipe outside our door.”
Add that to the endless garbage and empties she picks up outside and tags from stolen property in the back alley, and Bru is fed up.
“I was born here, it used to be totally different,” she said.
Even the RCMP officer who attended the scene said aside from putting bars on her windows and having surveillance, there’s not much business owners can do.
“The police officer was even like, ‘we get these calls every day.’ There’s just really nothing they (police) could do. These people (thieves) know that, they know there’s no recourse.”
Bru suggests Vernon looks at what other communities are doing to deter and prevent crime.
“There’s different cities that are putting cameras on the streets,” she said, questioning why Vernon hasn’t looked into that.
While there used to be groups such as the Okanagan Community Watch and Polson Avengers, both have since disbanded, but Bru would like to see similar efforts reborn in Vernon.
“There’s lot of cases in communities where they get groups of people who walk around town, just to have a presence,” she said. “The community needs to step up because the police are outnumbered.”
In the meantime, while Bru panics to try and determine what bookings she has as the laptop has been cleared of all information, she urges clients with any upcoming appointments to call or email the shop.
RCMP have investigated but have not identified any suspects in relation to the break in.