Business owners say little was taken but break-ins cause wide-ranging damage
By Sue Tiffin
Just before midnight on Boxing Day an alarm at the Kosy Korner on Highland Street in Haliburton alerted owners Ann and Alan Gordon that the door of the downtown restaurant had been smashed.
Together with police Ann watched security footage showing a hooded suspect entering the business after-hours.
“We don’t keep any money there at night” she said. “So the guy got some tip money that was allocated out for the kitchen staff that was out on the corner. As soon as he saw that he just grabbed it and left so for 50 bucks … I mean he did more damage than 50 bucks.”
Ann said the door will have to be replaced likely at a cost out-of-pocket and that business was affected because the boards on the doors suggested the building was closed. She spent time at the restaurant with police including a forensics team until about 4:30 a.m.
“I feel so punched in the face” she said. “You know here we are … it’s wintertime things are tight and then this happens to us.”
Ann said police were responsive and helpful at the scene noting a homicide last year and recent break-ins in the area were concerning the community.
“Oh they’re on it” she said. “They know that there’s a crime spree going on in Haliburton and they’re on it for sure. They took it very seriously it wasn’t just ‘oh the guy only got $50 tough luck.’ It was like yeah we’re calling in forensics we want a copy of the tape. They were taking it very seriously.“
She said she posted the break-in to social media to let customers know they were welcome despite the damage to the door.
“We posted it to say we’ve had a break-in and we’re open for business please come in because we’d like to see some friendly faces” she said. “It was nice because you get very down after it happens and everyone rallies around and you say yeah it’s great it’s still worth it you know?”
Ann said she would like to see the Haliburton Village BIA install security cameras on main street to help deter crime.
Colby Marcellus said he fully agrees that public security cameras could help protect businesses.
At about 3 a.m. around the same day that the Kosy Korner was broken into Parkside Laundromat owned by Marcellus and Craig Gordon experienced its second break-in since October when $15000 in damages and monetary loss occurred. This time the break-in resulted in about $10000 in damages.
“They didn’t get anything they can’t at this point because we’ve got pretty strong systems” said Marcellus. “So they weren’t able to get anything but they did cause damage while they were in there.”
Marcellus said security camera footage has been turned over to police.
“It looks like from what we can see on the video the guy didn’t really have it that together” he said. “He did a lot of running around. The alarm is very very loud. I think he thought he could disable the alarm so he tried to break into the office but he smashed something that actually wasn’t the alarm so there’s some of the damage. You can see him running in his pyjamas actually.”
Damage to the change machine during the last break-in resulted in laundromat patrons having to wait weeks before it could be repaired. This time it is damaged but partially functional – still Marcellus said it inconveniences people.
“It’s unnerving it’s frustrating” said Marcellus. “It’s not what we expect in a small town where everyone kind of works together. It’s upsetting. It makes things difficult for everybody … We’ve gotten to a point where we’re wondering if it’s even worth having a change machine which is really unfortunate because so many people rely on it.”
Marcellus said they’ve added additional security systems ensuring “it’s not a lucrative endeavour to try to break into the laundromat at all.”
In years of owning the laundromat Marcellus said there hadn’t been a problem. Two break-ins within two months has made Marcellus and Gordon nervous.
“It’s been a great business for everybody now it certainly has us wondering and worried” he said. “And if it can happen to us it can happen to anybody and our businesses are so critical to the health of our community … We’ll recover we always do but it certainly makes us wary.“
Anyone with information is asked to call Haliburton Highlands OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) to remain anonymous.