‘I was shocked’: Items worth thousands stolen from Calgary music shop

A Calgary business is dealing with the aftermath of an overnight break-in where thousands of dollars worth of product was stolen.

“They broke the windows at around 4 a.m., (and) they grabbed whatever was right by the window,” said John Xie, the operator of Musicwork Canada’s West Springs location.

“They came in afterwards, unlocked the front door and then grabbed a lot of our violins, guitars, amps, and they even took her cash register and (point of sale) system, which definitely had a tremendous effect on our daily operations.”

Xie says four Musicwork Canada stores in the city have been targeted by thieves in the past. His location in the southwest last Sunday was the latest.

“I was shocked at first, upset about it for sure, and (I am) just trying to figure out what we can do,” he said.

According to Xie, about $10,000 worth of items were taken, and filling the shelves once again, has been challenging.

“There’s going to be some items like violins and stuff that it will take a long time to replace,” he said. “For now, what I’ve done is I just took from my savings, I’ve paid for whatever inventory, I can’t fill up the shelves, so it looks a bit more normal.”

However, getting the business back to an ‘normal operational state’ could take months as the business waits for insurance claims to be processed and its building to get fixed.

“In addition to that, with the COVID-19, (and) supply chain issues, restocking the inventory also takes a significant amount of time,” said Taeho Style, the director of Musicworks Canada and TS Industries.

Style says it’s not just store owners who bear the brunt of break-ins.

“It’s not just a single business that’s being targeted. It’s everyone in the community,” he said.

Musicworks Canada is geared towards music lessons and education while offering items for purchase and rentals.

“If the students came in, (wanting) or they’re needing an instrument or book, and we cannot supply them what they need, that is not just a loss to the bottom line; it’s essentially the impact on the children’s education that we’re trying to uphold the qualities in.”

Style hopes people in the community take notice of what’s happening around them.

“It’s happening in our neighbourhood. It’s happening to the businesses in our communities,” he said. “(Knowing what’s going on is) encouragement for people within the communities to be more aware and acknowledge that these things are happening and then they can report it to the authorities.”

While the business has its own security measures in place, Style says owners are limited in what they can do to deter thieves.

“At the store level, for small business owners, there’s sort of a maximum tolerance of what they’re able to do,” he said. “Having more neighbourhood patrolling by the police would certainly help everybody feel safer.”

While Style and Xie are leaving the investigation into the break-and-enter in the hands of authorities, they are asking the public to use caution when buying used instruments.

“Ask for receipts, or some sort of a purchasing record,” said Style.

COMMERCIAL BREAK AND ENTERS ON THE RISE

Calgary Police say the number of commercial break and enters are rising.

During the first three months of 2021, there were 802 break and enters. In the same timeframe, for 2022, there were 1,268.

Looking at March alone, in 2021 there were 258 break and enters, while 2022 saw 468. That is a 15 per cent increase from the five-year average and an 81 per cent increase from 2021, according to police. Adding, that these offences are primarily focused on convenience stores, gas stations and restaurants, targeting any cash on premises from a till or an ATM.

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