A home renovation business in Fredericton has experienced six acts of vandalism in the last six months, totalling over $60,000 in losses.
An incident last Thursday was the worst so far.
Home Fashions Group owner Jarred Dooley said security footage from around 3 a.m. on July 22 shows a man smashing the windows of three company vans and stealing the equipment inside.
Dooley said it left the small business with over $25,000 in losses.
He said the company has already been hit with the extra costs of operating during a pandemic, with heightened shipping costs and lack of inventory, so these acts of vandalism and theft are hard to handle.
“It’s really hard to rebound from it. Up until this point we’ve been able to weather it but if this continues it really makes business owners ask, ‘What is this even for?’,” said Dooley.
Three Home Fashions vans were vandalized and emptied on the morning of July 22. (Submitted by Home Fashions)
The recent incident was just one of many for the small business in Hanwell. Dooley said the company has never experienced anything like the last six months.
“They’ve broken windows, they’ve stolen tools and catalytic converters,” he said.
He said every single van that is left overnight at the Home Fashions building has had the catalytic converter – a device that regulates emissions and is located on the bottom of vehicles – cut off, some more than once.
Dooley said the business has installed sheets of steel on the bottom of each vehicle to avoid any more catalytic converter thefts.
It doesn’t appear anyone has tried to get inside the company’s main building.
Home Fashions has since upgraded and added new security cameras for a higher quality picture and wider view of the area.
Home Fashions owner Jarred Dooley said vandalism is a chronic issue in the local area. (Submitted by Jarred Dooley)
It now has spotlights and 10 cameras surveying the property.
“If it happens again, we should be able to get very good facial features and the police gave us some insight on ways to best prepare the area for another break-in,” said Dooley.
He said the Fredericton Police force has taken fingerprints from the vans, and the business is waiting on the results.
‘A chronic problem’
Dooley said Home Fashions isn’t alone.
He has heard from businesses in the Hanwell area and across the city who have also dealt with similar incidents of vandalism.
“It’s relentless, it’s constant,” said Dooley.
“These are high value vandalisms and thefts that cripple companies.”
He said businesses just a couple of kilometres away from Home Fashions have had catalytic converters stolen, and trucks burned to the ground.
Home Fashions made a post on Facebook about the incidents and that’s when the owners realized they weren’t alone.
The post had over 500 shares and 60,000 views in a day.
Members of the general public have left Home Fashions with anonymous tips to help locate a suspect, said Dooley.
“In this area, this city, people really feel they want to help,” said Dooley.