Business broken into before opening

Business broken into before opening

By Frank Schier

By Frank Schier

Editor & Publisher

The Minglewood Boutique was set to formally open Sept. 4. In fact, owner Karen Elyea had even tested the Waterfront crowd for a few hours and made a few sales. Then the store was broken into during the early morning hours of Tuesday, Sept. 4.

Up to that point, Elyea and her husband Rubin were very wrapped up with the enthusiasm of their new enterprise. They had been working for seven months on the storefront at 321 N. Church St., tearing out a false ceiling, plastering walls, painting, applying faux finishes to the new paint, setting up the office and putting in display cases for retail sales of clothing, incense, candles, books, household decor items, imported goods and jewelry. Rubin is a master jeweler who handmakes a variety of sterling-silver pendants and rings, set with semi-precious stones. He had placed his and other artists’ work in a small counter-top display case, which he considered quite a find.

Everything was set to go, and the couple were so proud of their work that they left the blinds up and the lights on so that Waterfront passersby could see the fruits and quality of their efforts. One thing they hadn’t done yet: get an alarm system.

When Karen Elyea walked up to her storefront at 9 a.m. Tuesday, she saw someone in her shop, and that person was wearing a blue uniform. It was a policeman, then she saw the front door glass was broken out.

“Has anything been taken?” the officer asked. In shock and surprised that nothing seemed out of order besides the front-door, Elyea said, “No.”

It appeared to be a random act of vandalism, and that entry had not been made. Their neighbors at Milestone, Inc., 315 N. Church St., had called the police when they came to work and saw the damage.

The officer said to call if anything was missing and gave

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her a card with a case number on it.

Elyea began cleaning up the glass, calling the glass repair people, calling the insurance company and calling for costs

on an alarm system. She considered the incident a “wake-up call” and was thankful nothing was missing.

Then Rubin arrived, and he asked where was his display case and jewelry? Elyea said he hadn’t set it out yet because they were painting. They desperately looked around the store; and yes, the case and all its contents were gone. The case and the 25 rings in it are valued at $1500.

“Then we were sad,” said Elyea. “I couldn’t believe they came in and grabbed something like that without disturbing anything else. It’s odd that they took the whole case and just didn’t take the jewelry out of it.

“Rubin was really crushed because those were the rings that he made. It wasn’t money. It was irreplacable, one-of-a-kind rings. He really had to bite his tongue not to say, ‘I told you so.’ He’s much more skittish than I am. He didn’t want to leave the blinds open. But I was the one saying, ‘It’s OK, it’s OK,’” she said.

She had a shop on East State Street, One World, in the late 1980s, when downtown was desolate and never had a problem. She said she was very surprised to have this happen now that the River District is in full swing.

“We’re not going to let this get us down. We’re planning to open the store on Sept. 21,” she said. “I believe in the vitality of the River District, and this is where I want our store located.”

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