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'It's been a very tough year': Businesses on 124 Street report spike in break-ins, thefts


Two local boutiques have reopened after a break-in last month. Business owners in the area say it's an unfortunate trend that's taking an emotional and financial toll.

Pura Botanicals and So Pretty Cara Cotter, which share a storefront on 124 Street, were burglarized during the earlymorning hours of July 27.

Two thieves made off with thousands of dollars worth of jewelry and caused significant damage to the store.

A CTV News Edmonton camera captured images of smashed glass from the door as well as broken cabinets

"They smashed the front door, entered in through the glass, came in with a hatchet, and stole all the jewelry in the space from our fellow brand So Pretty Cara Cotter, broke all the cabinets, and were in and out within three minutes," said Pura Botanicals founder Lane Edwards.

The businesses were forced to close their storefront for several days while the damage was repaired.

Edwards says there have been two other recent break-in attempts at the boutique, and she says neighbouring businesses are also reporting break-ins.

"We definitely have seen how the increase in crime has affected small businesses in the downtown area and 124 Street, which has been really tough and unfortunate," she said.

Lane Edwards speaks to CTV News Edmonton's David Ewasuk after a break-in at So Pretty Cara Cotter and Pura Botanicals.

"We have an Instagram chat going with several dozens of local businesses, and every week we receive a notice that someone else has been broken into, or their front windows have been smashed. It's very difficult."


Down the street at PaperDoll Clothing Co., it's a similar story.

The shop's co-owner says about two months ago, a burglar did $3,000 worth of damage to the store only to make off with $120 in cash.

Erin Mack of PaperDoll Clothing Co. (David Ewasuk/CTV News Edmonton)

"First year we've seen a break-in. It's happening all up and down the street. It's scary. As a business owner, we’ve had to put up signs that we’re not taking cash because we just can’t afford to repair the damage every time for such a small amount of cash," Erin Mack told CTV News.

"It is disheartening because, aside from feeling violated, we had to close our store for a day, and every day counts in a small business."

Mack said she and her business partner opted not to go through insurance to fix the damage because they didn't want to see their premiums increase.

"We paid for it out of pocket," she said. "The landlord did pitch in for some of it as well. But I feel bad for the businesses that have been hit multiple times. At what point can they sustain that?"

Around the corner at Miss Boss boutique, owner Sabrina Humphrey says she's one of the businesses that has experienced multiple break-ins.

"I’ve had the store for 14 years. Business has been good. This year we have experienced a lot of break-ins," she said.

"We've had four break-ins since February, and it's been a very tough year.

Sabrina Humphrey of Miss Boss boutique in Edmonton. (David Ewasuk/CTV News Edmonton)

"It's absolutely been an emotional rollercoaster, financially and emotionally. Just to get these calls at 3 a.m. that your store is broken into. It's a headache and it’s just really tough to kind of want to continue to go on after this happens repeatedly."

Humphrey says she's also had to make changes to store policies to protect her business.

"We’ve had to take further measures for security, and we've had to put a lot of things away, take things with us that we normally wouldn’t do just to keep ourselves protected at night."


All of the women say police have not been able to find the people responsible for the break-ins at their businesses.

"The police have been great, but I think their hands are tied, too. They haven't, I don’t think, had success in catching any of the thieves," Humphrey said.

"It sort of seemed like this is just another in a long string of break-ins that there wasn't too much excitement over it," Mack said. "We actually went and found our cash drawer ourselves, which was just around the corner, and had to call them back to come and process for prints. We've still not heard anything back."

CTV News Edmonton reached out to the 124 Street Business Association, but they declined to comment.

Edwards says something needs to change before businesses are forced to close.

"To have a street-front store as is in Edmonton, it’s definitely an investment in time and energy and devotion to our culture of being Edmonton city for shopping, versus just being a mall city," she said. "It's getting more difficult."

The Edmonton Police Service also declined to comment on the story.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's David Ewasuk Top Stories

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