Thieves break into downtown jewelry store

By: Tammy Rollie

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014 11:23 am

Wild Rose Jewellery & Gifts manager Natasha Yanikyan stands in front of her store in downtown Okotoks after two thieves broke in last week and stole tens of thousands of dollars worth of goods.
Wild Rose Jewellery & Gifts manager Natasha Yanikyan stands in front of her store in downtown Okotoks after two thieves broke in last week and stole tens of thousands of dollars worth of goods.
Jordan Verlage/OWW

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A downtown Okotoks jewelry store was hit yet again by thieves.

Two criminals broke into Wild Rose Jewellery & Gifts on Elizabeth Street the evening of April 7 through an empty business next door and in three minutes left with tens of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise including watches and silver jewelry.

Wild Rose Jewellery & Gifts manager Natasha Yanikyan said this is the third time criminals targeted the store in just as many years. Last year a vehicle was driven into the front window, but entry was prevented by the store's metal security gate, she said.

This time Yanikyan received a call from the alarm company at midnight on April 8.

“We are pretty shocked to get the phone call,” she said. “We thought we did everything we could (to secure the store). It definitely feels personal because it has happened a few times.”

Yanikyan said the criminals broke into an empty business next door, squeezed through the wall and used a crowbar to break through the drywall.

The thieves knocked down shelving and damaged merchandise as they gained entry into the store.

Video surveillance of the theft captured two very slim individuals wearing balaclavas, sunglasses, hats and gloves, she said.

Okotoks RCMP Sgt. Donna Rorison suspects the criminals cased the store before the crime because they were able to move around in the darkness with ease.

She said the store had high-level security on its windows and doors, as well as an alarm system and surveillance camera.

“The more value you have in your business the better security you need,” said Rorison. “The better security you have the more you protect yourself even though if you get broken in to it may not feel like it.”

To help solve crimes like these, the RCMP often need the help of residents who might have witnessed suspicious activity that could help the RCMP find criminals, Rorison said.

“I always say we are only as good as the information we get from the public,” she said. “Very often the more information we get from the public, the better investigators we are and the more crimes we solve. If you know something tell us because if you are not the victims probably one of your friends, family or neighbours is.”

Yanikyan said in the 30 years her family has operated the jewelry store in Okotoks they experienced no crime until three years ago.

“From that year on we've had some sort of break-in and theft every year,” she said. “It's hard to make that up. Do we have to budget for them now?”

Yanikyan attributes the crimes to the fast-paced growth of Okotoks.

“It makes you worry about how much the town is growing,” she said. “What are we going to do about security in town? Is everybody going to have to get a security guard?”

Rosie Yanikyan, who also helps with the family store, said she has had trouble sleeping since last week's theft.

“I'm waiting for a call to say they're back,” she said.

Anyone who may have witnessed suspicious activity on the evening of April 7 or early morning hours of April 8 in or near Wild Rose Jewellery & Gifts are asked to contact the Okotoks RCMP at 938-4202 or make an anonymous report to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.


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