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Maple Ridge businesses targeted in 48 hours in string of burglaries

A total of three downtown businesses were vandalized on Jan. 7 and 8

Maple Ridge businesses are under attack, with three downtown stores being broken into in less than 48 hours.

The first to be hit was Town and Country Vintage Home, which had its front door smashed in on Sunday, but underwent a speedy cleanup to re-open as soon as possible.

“As a small business, we can’t let them win by staying closed,” said owner Naomi Corr.

While the door had to be boarded up, Corr and her team came up with a unique way to let the community spirit shine.

They put together a bag filled with several coloured felt markers and left it outside their front door, letting people come by and write a heartfelt message on the boarded-up door.

Corr also said that while they were dealing with the aftermath of the break-in, many people dropped by to lend a hand any way they could.

While her main emotion was sadness when it first happened, she now said she’s moved on to frustration over this persistent problem throughout the city.

“Now I’m at the point where the anger is kicking in,” said Corr. “Our city needs to step up and do something.”

On Monday night, two more downtown businesses were broken into, with Vanilla Bean Bake Shop and Bean Around Books and Tea also being targeted.

“It feels very violating and feels like I’m just naked in front of a crowd,” said Taylor Livesey, owner of Vanilla Bean Bake Shop. “I’ve never really experienced this feeling before and I don’t wish it on anybody.”

Livesey said she was truly grateful for all of the support the bakery received following the vandalism.

“Almost every person who has come in the shop recently has been checking in and asking us how we’re doing and everything. We had a young couple come here all the way from New Westminster because they saw what had happened, and they loaded up a box of goodies.”

She is hopeful that the perpetrator will be caught soon before they have a chance to hurt another local business.

“Luckily, we do have cameras and at one point he did take his hood off in the shop, so we do have a really good description of what he looks like, and we did get fingerprints too,” said Livesey.

“There’s been so much that’s happened recently here in Maple Ridge in terms of vandalism and B&Es. It’s not okay and something does need to happen.”


Bean Around Books and Tea facilitator Tara Malanik explained that this is unfortunately not the first time that the non-profit bookstore and cafe has been broken into, having suffered several broken windows and many stolen items throughout the past year.

“As I drove up to the store, I could see a large rock by the back door and then the large dents in the door, which was closed,” said Malanik.

“When I approached the building I could see that the door had been kicked in. I walked inside to a pile of wood which was from our building, our back door was completely taken out.”

She said that being a non-profit makes these types of incidents particularly detrimental to the store.

“We are a nonprofit that helps youth build work and life skills, so anytime we have to pay for damage or vandalism it takes a huge toll on us financially. We were lucky to have locked up for the holidays but still had some high items stolen, our cost is well over $2,500 to repair and replace items.”

READ ALSO: RCMP ask for help in identifying suspect of Maple Ridge break and enter

Flori Chaykowski, executive director of the Downtown Maple Ridge Business Improvement Association (DMRBIA), said that she was incredibly saddened to see this recent string of break-ins plague Maple Ridge businesses.

“The DMRBIA is feeling the hurt alongside the business owners who are scared and struggling with the rollercoaster of emotions they are experiencing,” said Chaykowski.

“As an organization that advocates and supports our downtown businesses, we are working closely with all stakeholders involved and we thank those that have come to the table so quickly. The ideal hope is that we can get to the root cause and put a stop to it.”

These three break-ins come less than four months after another downtown Maple Ridge business was vandalized, resulting in most of its merchandise being ruined.

T’s Once Upon A Tea Leaf was forced to close for nearly two months after they had a masked vandal smash their front door and throw an orange smoke bomb into the store.

READ MORE: Man vandalized B.C. business with smoke bombs; fundraiser launched

Taryn Stephenson Thoews, co-owner of the tea shop, said she was all too familiar with what these three businesses are going through right now.

“While I know that what was taken is not a lot, and you’ll be able to sweep up the glass and be open in a few hours or a day or so and rise above it, I also know how much this sucks and I am so sorry,” said Thoews.

“I know that it’s scary and it makes your business feel vulnerable. But I also know that this community will show up for you.”

Thoews expressed her frustration over the fact that these types of crimes seem to have become so common in Maple Ridge lately.

“That’s three locally-owned businesses that have been hit in three days. That’s messed up,” she said.

Chaykowski emphasized that the DMRBIA is here to help these businesses, as well as any other local business that is impacted by this sort of crime.

“We have provided information on the Securing Small Business Rebate Program (SSBRP) and our Lock Out Crime Through Environmental Design (LOCTED) grant, as well as advice on next steps,” said Chaykowski.

“It is encouraged for businesses to be mindful of suspicious activity and report it. The Business Block Watch is available for sign-up as well.”

READ ALSO: Iconic Maple Ridge business Fuller Watson closing

Ridge Meadows RCMP said that they will be taking reactive measures against what they acknowledged has been a “slight uptick in break and enters in the downtown core.”

“Ridge Meadows RCMP crime analysts have been examining crime trends which will ensure that police resources are being utilized and allocated effectively,” said Cpl. Julie Klaussner. “Police will be increasing overt patrols in the downtown core to directly deal with any concerns.”

Insp. Martin Guay explained that members of the Ridge Meadows Crime Prevention Unit will be teaming up with the Integrated Safety Ambassador Team to patrol the downtown core.

“This is a priority for the detachment and something that we take very seriously,” said Guay.

Brandon Tucker

About the Author: Brandon Tucker

I have been a journalist since 2013, with much of my career spent covering sports and entertainment stories in Alberta.
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