By Charlotte Helston
A local jewelery store has been hit hard in recent months first with a robbery at gunpoint and next with a theft of $2,300 worth of necklaces.
Staff at Enderby Jewelers simply say, "It sucks."
Debbie Dalke starting working at the Cliff Ave. store just before the first incident.
"I hadn't heard of anything like this happening before. It came right out of the blue," Dalke says.
The November incident involved two men asking to see jewelery embellished with diamonds. One of them had a gun. A female employee quickly fetched a tray of items, but they didn't please the man with the gun, whose face was somewhat hidden beneath a cowboy hat.
Despite his demands and obvious intention, he and his partner left without taking anything. But they left a lasting note of fear in the store.
The second incident couldn't have been more different from the first.
In late February, a customer walked into the store asking to see their gold chains. The clerk opened the glass cabinets containing the chains and the man requested one be weighed.
When the clerk was distracted looking for a scale, the man reached into the unlocked cabinet and pocketed one of the chains.
The clerk returned with the scale unaware of what had happened, and when she turned to weigh a chain, the man slipped a few more chains onto his person.
It wasn't until later the clerk realized she'd been had. In all, three gold chains worth over $2,300 were stolen.
RCMP have yet to catch any of the suspects, though the third was caught on the store's video surveillance.
"The girl who was at gunpoint is pretty shaken up," Dalke says. "It's made us all more cautious. You get that uneasy feeling more, especially when it's dark and you see someone walk by outside."
She says the store has enforced a strict security policy on locking up the display cases. "Even if we're going to be opening it back up in just a few seconds, we have to constantly lock things if we're going to turn our back for a moment."
She suspects the store's insurance will cover what was stolen, but it's the emotional and psychological impacts that are most troubling to her.
"I'm constantly keeping an eye on people now," she says. "It's made things uneasy for everyone here."
"Things like this aren't good for a small business in a small community," she says. "I just hope it doesn't deter people from coming in."
RCMP are seeking the public's help in locating the man they believe shoplifted the three gold chains. They have provided the video surveillance picture of the suspect. A further description puts him at 6'3", 280 lbs, with short brown hair and a tattoo of Celtic Keys on the back of his neck.
Anyone with any information regarding this incident or the man's identity is asked to call the Enderby RCMP at 250-838-6818.
The men from the November robbery were never apprehended.
One man was described as being a slimly-built 5'10" in his late 40's, with a reddish-toned goatee, white dress shirt, black pants, and a black brimmed hat similar in shape to a cowboy hat.
The other man was taller than the first, Caucasian with tanned skin, 6', 180lbs and wearing a black hoodie with Canada written on the front in white and red lettering. The hood was up, hiding the suspect's face.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (250)309-5230.