‘Police are outnumbered’ says Okanagan business owner hit by theft

Maela’s Esthetics offering reward for stolen laptop and suggestions for increased safety

Two suspects were caught on video surveillance behind Maela’s Esthetics following a break-in Saturday morning. (Maela’s Esthetics photo)

Two suspects were caught on video surveillance behind Maela’s Esthetics following a break-in Saturday morning. (Maela’s Esthetics photo)

A downtown Vernon business devastated by a recent break in, says the community needs to reclaim its city.

Maela’s Esthetics and Hair by Samantha Marie was broken into around 1:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 1. A window was smashed at the shop, in the 3000 block of 30th Street, and an ASUS laptop was stolen and a grey cash box was reported missing.

Video surveillance shared to Facebook showed two suspects walking down the back alley, “tucking my laptop back into their backpack,” shortly after the time of the incident, owner Maela Bru wrote in a post.

She is so desperate to get the laptop back she is offering a reward.

“It has our salon software on it, which is useless to anyone but means everything to us. We can’t make any income without appointments and our clients contact info,” said Bru, adding the laptop still had the stickers on it and was like new, but thieves failed to get the charging cable.

“This is my worst nightmare.

“We are completely lost without it and unable to book appointments,” she said, adding while they have been downtown for six years without any problems, this is the latest in a series of unfortunate events for the local business.

Earlier on Friday, Bru chased someone off who was, “literally packing a crack pipe outside our door.”

Add that to the endless garbage and empties she picks up outside and tags from stolen property in the back alley, and Bru is fed up.

“I was born here, it used to be totally different,” she said.

Even the RCMP officer who attended the scene said aside from putting bars on her windows and having surveillance, there’s not much business owners can do.

“The police officer was even like, ‘we get these calls every day.’ There’s just really nothing they (police) could do. These people (thieves) know that, they know there’s no recourse.”

Bru suggests Vernon looks at what other communities are doing to deter and prevent crime.

“There’s different cities that are putting cameras on the streets,” she said, questioning why Vernon hasn’t looked into that.

While there used to be groups such as the Okanagan Community Watch and Polson Avengers, both have since disbanded, but Bru would like to see similar efforts reborn in Vernon.

“There’s lot of cases in communities where they get groups of people who walk around town, just to have a presence,” she said. “The community needs to step up because the police are outnumbered.”

In the meantime, while Bru panics to try and determine what bookings she has, she urges clients with any upcoming appointments to call or email the shop.

RCMP have investigated but have not identified any suspects in relation to the break in.

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‘Police are outnumbered’ says Okanagan business owner hit by theft