Rash of downtown burglaries has business owners on edge

By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Jewett City - posted Tue., Jan. 22, 2013
JC Coed Fashions is one of two Jewett City business which suffered a break-in in recent weeks. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.
JC Coed Fashions is one of two Jewett City business which suffered a break-in in recent weeks. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.

Security cameras are becoming a necessity for Jewett City business owners, as at least two local businesses have been victimized by burglars in recent weeks, and reportedly at least one suspect has been apprehended. A neon-green sign in the window at JC Coed Fashions on Main Street offered a reward for information regarding a break-in that occurred in the early hours of Jan. 12. According to owner Doreen Smith, the burglars took an unspecified amount of merchandise and cash. “Whatever they could get, they took,” she said.
Smith said this is the first time she has experienced a break-in in nearly three decades of working retail in Jewett City. She was employed for more than 20 years at Zuckerbraun’s general store a few doors away before the store closed and she opened her own business. Her clothing store has been at its current location for more than two years, she said.

Along with the reward sign, JC Coed Fashions also sports a sign proclaiming the existence of security cameras on the premises.

Just a few blocks away, on School Street, the Abbey Road 2 Boutique Smoke Shop has been hit twice in the two months since the business opened. Owner John Brown said that two break-ins have occurred in the two months the shop has been open for business. “They kicked a window in the first time,” he said. The second time, an unlocked window gave the burglars easier access.

The thieves took between $3,000 and $5,000 worth of merchandise, along with $10 in cash, said Brown. “We’re missing a lot of stuff,” he said. He said that he, too, has installed security cameras at the store. Between the loss from the theft and the cost for the cameras, “it was a pretty expensive week,” he said.

Brown said that state police apprehended a suspect during the second break-in. The suspect, he said, was “walking down the street with a duffel bag full of my stuff.” He said state police haven’t told him whether an arrest was made, or whether he’ll be able to retrieve his merchandise.

The resident state trooper’s office in Jewett City was closed over the three-day Martin Luther King holiday weekend, and no one was available there or at Troop E in Montville to comment on the cases at press time.

“You’ve got to have security [cameras] when you’ve got stuff like this going on,” said Rocky Reynolds, who runs the Kutz by Rock barber shop next door to JC Coed Fashions. He said that criminals have gotten bolder during the winter months because the usual bicycle patrols by resident state troopers are curtailed by the weather. “Nobody’s afraid because there’s no [bike] patrol going on,” he said. “It’s reckless around here.”

He said he used to ask local kids to run errands for him when he was busy with customers, but not anymore. The last time he gave a kid some cash to get him something from the convenience store across the street, “the kid took my money and never came back,” he said.

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