Poulsbo Village merchants wake up to sorrow

POULSBO — It’s not the kind of milestone Poulsbo Village management is going to celebrate.

Thieves hit nine of its storefronts Aug. 12. The incident is the worst burglary in the shopping center’s nearly 20-year history.

“I was scared,” recalled Smoothies, Inc. owner Nadia Haddad of finding her store ransacked early Wednesday morning. “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, not in Poulsbo.’ I felt shocked and disappointed. It’s a violation.”

The Poulsbo Village businesses that were burglarized are Allen’s Cleaners, Beauty Supply, Chung’s Teriyaki, Golden Lion, Jacqui’s Florist, Pho Xa, Smoothies, Inc., The New You and Tim Ryan Enterprises.

Sergeant Bill Playter of the Poulsbo Police Department said the thieves cut the locks off doors to gain access and then mainly focused on stealing cash.

Detectives also believe that the thieves are the same ones responsible for break-in in the Kingston area the same night because of similarities in entry methods.

“More than likely, it’s the same people,” Playter commented.

Tim Ryan Enterprises CEO Tim Ryan said the boldness of the burglars surprised him the most. He said the majority of the businesses were broken into through the front doors and the entries were nearly unnoticeable.

“They knew what they were doing,” he commented. “You can break into anything but they did it without making it look really obvious.”

Like most of her victimized neighbors, Haddad said all of the money in her cash register and a safe containing about $120 were stolen. While it may not seem like a lot of money, Haddad said such an amount is a large loss to some of the small business owners in Poulsbo Village. For Smoothies. Inc., for instance, the loss represents about half a day’s business during the shop’s busy summer months.

“I was actually lucky compared to some of the other places,” Haddad commented.

For some businesses, the losses went farther than just currency.

At Jacqui’s Florist, the thieves took owner Jacqui Armstrong’s framed first dollars, which had been given to her by her father the day she opened shop.

Just two doors down, a Japanese Maneki Neko (good luck cat) piggy bank was smashed and the contents stolen from Rosinda Fleming’s The New You.

Fleming and her granddaughter had been putting spare change into the bank together and the youngster had shown great delight in checking its weight every time she visited. In addition, Fleming said the thieves destroyed her cash register to get to the money inside and also vandalized her store.

“This is a very small town to have something like this happen. It’s very embarrassing in a town like this,” Fleming said of the break-ins. “I hope they catch the person who did this.”

Ryan said Thursday that all nine of the businesses were open for business and new locks had been installed on doors. Of course, he added, the biggest impact may be to the business community’s sense of security.

“They’re all pretty upset but they’re all realizing this is a fact of life that this can happen — even here,” Ryan said.

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