A Qualicum Beach jewelry store owner says he is looking at $70,000 in losses after an overnight break-in on Oct. 25.
Jeff Ross, owner of the Gold Silver Guy store in Qualicum Beach, said he has experienced so many break-ins across his three Island locations that insurance will no longer provide him coverage.
“I’ve had five break-ins in less than a year. Two in Duncan, two in Nanaimo and one here,” said Ross, and added there have been 22 incidents in 25 years, but things have become worse recently.
Oceanside RCMP are investigating the break-in, according to Sgt. Shane Worth.
“The unknown suspects entered the business by smashing through the rear cinder block wall and targeted a storage area. A substantial amount of merchandise was stolen,” Worth said in an email to the PQB News.
Ross said he believes the thieves broke in through the cement wall because his business’s window is protected by security cameras, alarm sensors and metal bars.
“How do you protect yourself from someone who’s determined to come through a wall?” he said.
Three of the five robberies this year saw the thieves smash through a wall, Ross added.
A February break-in to his Nanaimo store cost $62,000 in stolen merchandise. The Qualicum location has been robbed twice, plus an attempted break-in, in its seven years of existence, Ross said.
“At my age of 63, this jeopardizes any sort of retirement,” he said.
The thefts also threaten the viability of his business, although Ross said it is too early too say if he will need to close a store.
“This is not a theft of opportunity. It’s not like grab-and-go. They prepared with a vehicle, with tools, with cutting, with gloves,” Ross said. “The system is not going to change unless a politician who can make those rules change is affected by a theft like this.”
RCMP have conducted a forensic examination of the scene, according to Worth, and investigators are awaiting the results.
No suspects have been identified, according to police.
If anyone has any information or video related to this incident, they are asked to contact Oceanside RCMP, quoting file 2023-11455.