Downtown boutique suffers brazen break-in

The owners of a downtown clothing shop have been sent scrambling after a thief broke in through the store's ceiling early Monday to make off with cash from the till.

Butterfly Threads co-owner Robyn Shergill said she got a call from the security company at 3 a.m.

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When she and partner Jacquie Clarke arrived, at their 555 George St. business, they found a massive hole above and a pile of dust and insulation on the floor.

A security camera caught the robbery from start to finish and they are hoping it will give police enough to track down the culprit.

It was among the latest in the growing list of robberies and other types of crime being committed in the downtown and comes as a public meeting on the issue is to be held at city hall this evening, 6 p.m. start.

Representatives from Downtown Prince George, the Prince George Chamber of Commerce and The Gateway plan to make a separate presentation to city council during their Dec. 16 regular meeting.

Previously located at the corner of Fourth and Dominion, Shergill and Clarke said they moved to their current home about a year ago after noticing a decline in business.

"Customers just didn't want to go near that corner," Clarke said.

They said the move has helped but only somewhat.

With vagrants hanging out in the alley behind the store and doing drugs, Shergill and Clarke said employees have not felt safe. The vagrants have even used ductwork on the back of the buildings exterior to crawl up onto the roof and camp out. Sleeping bags and other items have been found there and installing barbed wire did not help.

Whenever the vagrants are confronted, something gets vandalized. When the heads of two statues at the store's entrance have been knocked off, Shergill said they stopped efforts to beautify the spot.

And when the store is open they have constantly had to deal with shoplifters.

"They're very aggressive," Shergill said.

They will be too busy getting the hole in the roof patched up to attend tonight's meeting. They estimate the damage at $20,000 to $30,000, and Shergill and Clarke own the building.

The break-in left Clarke disappointed but still compassionate, saying the trouble in the downtown is a social problem.

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