Thieves broke into one store on Morrison Avenue in Parksville Wednesday night and tried to get into another one, without success.
Shirra Wall, the co-owner of Wilde and Sparrow at 144 West Island Highway said she found out the store had been hit early Thursday morning.
“We got a call before 7 a.m. from someone who had been walking past and noticed a giant pile of glass,” Wall said. “We’ve been cleaning up ever since.”
The unidentified culprit gained entry into the store by smashing the window on the Morison Avenue side of the property. Once inside, she said, it appears the thief didn’t waste any time, heading for a drawer where the store’s cash box is kept.
“It seemed like they knew where it was,” she said. “Nothing else was touched. Not a thing was out of place except for that one drawer with the cash box.
Wall said the thief got lucky, as she had failed to make her daily deposit the evening before, so the cash box was stuffed with an estimated $1,500.
“Normally I do a deposit but I was on my own and it had been a really busy couple of days,” Wall said. “It was very upsetting. This is our first Christmas open and our customers have been incredibly supportive and wonderful and we have been really busy. It just felt a little like a violation.”
Wall said she has already taken steps to prevent the theft from being repeated.
“I’m putting bars up on the doors and we aren’t keeping the cash box in the same place,” she said.
That same night, Brit Foods, located next door in the same building at 166 Island Highway was also hit, but the culprit was unable to gain access.
John Badger, the father of Brit Foods owner Tony Badger, was busy fixing a front door window. The window pane was smashed out right next to the doorknob in an attempt to unlock the door and gain entry. However, a deadbolt lock foiled that attempt and the would-be thief moved on.
Badger said the store has been plagued with break ins and thefts over the years, with one instance in which several windows were broken in one attack and another incident in which the thieves made off with the store laptop computer, which contained valuable ordering information.
Oceanside RCMP Sergeant Darrell Robertson confirmed the police have begun investigating the incident.