Liz Fincham and Jeff Knadle were rudely awoken at 4 a.m. Friday morning in their Chemainus home to the sound of a screeching alarm.
The couple, who own Magpies Antiques and Gifts on Willow Street, knew immediately that the glass alarm at the nearby store had been activated, signalling that a break in might be in progress.
They hopped in their car and rushed to the scene to find no one there, but their glass front door had been smashed in, and the interior of the store had broken glass strewn everywhere.
On closer examination, the couple discovered that four glass display cases had been smashed open and more than $30,000 worth of jewelry had been taken.
Among the stolen items are approximately 65 gold rings, a large number of cameos, silverware and an assortment of jewelry with an arrangement of precious stones in them, including amber and sapphire.
“I figure they must have staked out the place and knew exactly where everything was, so they were in and out of the store in about 10 minutes,” Fincham said as she picked broken glass out of one of the display cases shortly after 9 a.m.
“Glass is everywhere and it will take some time to take everything out of their cases to clear the glass away. I just want to cry and go back to bed. It’s been a long morning already.”
The couple have content insurance at the store, which they have operated for five years, but they won’t know if that covers jewelry until they can talk to their insurance adjuster.
Fincham said that, as well as the glass alarm, the store also has security cameras, but they were meant to be more of a deterrent to thieves as they were not plugged in.
She said Knadle was in the process of checking the outdoor security cameras of two nearby banks to see if they recorded any part of the break in.
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“It’s the first time we’ve been broken into, and that’s very disheartening,” she said.
“There have been break-ins down the road recently, and the neighbours said they were carried out by men with masks on. The police were here just minutes after we first arrived on the scene and that’s really appreciated. I asked if they were going to look for fingerprints, but they said that won’t likely be helpful as the store is always full of customers touching things.”
Fincham said the store may have to be closed for a few days until the glass is repaired and all the inventory is sorted out.
“We’re feeling rather gutted and, right now, we just feel like closing the store,” she said.
“If people are approached by anyone trying to sell gold, silver of amber jewelry, please call the police and report it.”
A statement from the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment asked that any neighbouring businesses who may have video surveillance or anyone with information about this crime contact the detachment, or if you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477)