Chocolate Tofino was broken into during the early morning hours of Tuesday, Nov. 3.
The store’s co-owner Cam Shaw told the Westerly News that a thief gained entry through a back window, triggering the store’s alarm system at 3:41 a.m.
He said he received a call from the alarm company and checked the shop’s surveillance footage, which shows a thief take money from a till and then run out as the alarm sounds.
“It was actually shocking to be literally watching this guy run out of my business,” Shaw said. “That’s a new experience, that’s shocking.”
He said he has been operating Chocolate Tofino for 10 years and this is the first break-in he’s experienced.
“It’s unsettling, but we’re very thankful that our staff did a proper close and minimized all risk…The losses were negligible based on the actions of my staff,” he said. “Our staff did a wonderful job making sure that everything was locked, everything was set, everything was secure. When the assailant came in, there was really nothing to grab; it was pretty bare bones.”
He said the break-in was a good test for the shop’s systems and added that he shared the surveillance footage on social media on Tuesday morning to raise awareness within the community.
“Oftentimes, living in a West Coast town where our population is small, there’s so many people who don’t take precautions that they would take in a city,” he said. “I don’t always think that people realize that there is some amount of risk in not securing your property or leaving your surfboard on your car overnight or whatever. I think it’s really important that we have a conversation as a community and that it kind of makes us a little uncomfortable about what’s happening, which essentially makes us a little bit more vigilant of what’s happening in our neighbourhoods…It’s not about the loss, it’s about the community and having a good one to live in.”
He noted a family-run chocolate shop during a pandemic that has businesses not accepting cash the same way they normally would, is a strange target for thieves and suggested the suspect’s actions were likely not well thought out.
“This year has been tricky for businesses in many ways and this year has also been tricky for individuals. Loss of income, depression, any number of things, psychologically we’ve all suffered in 2020. So, when I look at this situation, although it’s unfortunate, I get it, stuff happens and it’s better to be prepared before it happens than after the first time it happens,” he said.
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