A West Kelowna business owner is urging other entrepreneurs to hold on to their security systems and insurance after a rash of shoplifting and finally, a store break-in.
Esteem Lingerie owner Angela O’Brien said they have never experienced anything major in the store’s 15-year-history but that changed after an increase in shoplifting starting in the fall and finally a break-in on Dec. 9.
She said that around 5 a.m., she received from her security company, saying police were on scene as the store had been broken into and the alarms triggered.
O’Brien said because they had a good alarm system, the suspects were only able to take 70 pairs of panties and about 30 pieces of robes and other items. She said they also tried to go through the cash drawer but weren’t able to find much.
“It was quite a shock to come down here and see two police cruisers and the door basically ripped open,” she said.
“Uncannily, the items stolen were the same items and sizes that were being shoplifted earlier too.”
She said the break-in incident could have been worse if they didn’t have a good security system in place. O’Brien said she wants to share their story to encourage other small businesses in the area to hold on to their alarms and cameras.
“When things are tight, you look at your expenses and consider what you can cut. In difficult times, some businesses look at letting go of that insurance or letting go of that monitoring contract. But maybe keep that insurance policy in place.”
“But those are the very things that mitigated the situation for us and will help keep us open,” she said
O’Brien also added that despite the shoplifting and the break-in, she was encouraged by the community’s response after the incident.
“The incredible businesses locally that we needed to help us get secure and get us back up and running, they were behind us right away.”
“Yes, it was awful and it saddens me it happened but it also showed me what our community can do,” she said.
West Kelowna RCMP said they have conducted an investigation but have not identified any suspects yet.