GUELPH - A Guelph business owner is angered, frustrated and disappointed after someone stole money and did $100,000 in damage to their store this week.
On Wednesday night around 9:45, after the Freshii in the plaza at Gordon Street and Wellington Street had closed for the night, security cameras show a man entered and hid in the washroom during an after-hours delivery, said Juliann McArthur, who along with husband Kurt owns two Freshii franchises in Guelph.
After the delivery person had left and locked the doors, the person spent over an hour smashing ceilings and HVAC equipment, pouring sauce onto computer equipment, using a crowbar to pry open the cash register and safe and doing all kinds of other damage in a part of the store not covered by the store's motion alarms.
McArthur said he eventually wandered into an area covered by the motion detector and set off the alarm.
Rather than simply unlocking the door from the inside and leaving, he spent several minutes breaking his way out, eventually using a chair to smash a window.
She said as he exited he ran past employees of the nearby Starbucks who had come over to see what the commotion was.
"He wasn't a very smart criminal," McArthur said.
No arrest has yet been made but McArthur said camera footage should help in the investigation.
But it won't help her business, which suffered $100,000 in damage and cash losses, including $8,000 in fresh food that now has to be disposed of in case it was contaminated in any way.
McArthur wants people to know the Freshii store will reopen, but it will take two to three weeks to repair and replace everything.
"It sucks because this is our busiest time of the year when the students have just come back," McArthur said.
"We want people to know we're not gone, it's just something really unfortunate that has happened and it couldn't have been a worse time of the year."
She is concerned about the escalating crime in the area, including that plaza, which she believes is related to the escalating drug and homelessness problem in the city.
The person that broke in was also caught on camera acting strangely in the Starbucks earlier in the night, she said.
"We're in a very, very public area and we never thought we'd be broken into, but it happened," she said.
"I'm also worried about the safety of my employees. Guelph really does have a problem and it's not being addressed. People are at risk."