Thieves smash truck through vape store wall in SE Portland, swipe armfuls of merchandise
PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - A brand new business called the House of Vape off of Southeast Powell Boulevard was scheduled for their grand opening Friday, but instead they were burglarized.
Sami Hales, who owns the shop, said he lost roughly $100,000 in products and damages. However, it’s nothing new.
“I’m getting used to it to be honest with you,” Hales said. “At least once a month I’m getting a phone call.”
He has been burglarized a dozen times between his 19 locations, but the thieves are getting more and more sophisticated. This time, a white truck crashed through the side of the business and three individuals started taking products.
“They’re doing it so professionally,” Hales said. “I swear when I saw this footage, I thought I was watching “Mission Impossible.” It doesn’t matter what I do for security, they still rob me.”
The first round of thieves were in and out in less than two minutes, but more trickled in afterward.
“It was an open buffet,” he said.
In the footage, the thieves were pillaging the shelves by swooping their arms from side to side and filling garbage cans full of product.
“So you can imagine how much they stole,” Hales said. “They hurt me bad.”
Hales said he feels like theft and crime are crushing his dreams of continuing to build his business and feel safe in the community he loves.
“I’m an immigrant,” he said. “I’ve lived in this wonderful, wonderful city for 22 years. I cannot go walk after 1 a.m. I’m a big guy, but it doesn’t matter. It’s just getting worse and worse.”
He blames it on who he calls “evil people.”
“I’m sorry to call them evil,” Hales said apologetically. “But they are evil because they’re hurting everybody.”
He managed to catch the license plate and is hopeful they’ll be caught. All the while, he remains optimistic about the city he calls home.
“Portland, Oregon is going to go back to what it used to be,” Hales said. “Safe and good.”
Hales said tobacco shops aren’t allowed to have product insurance, so he’s out quite a bit of dough. But he’s thankful for all the help he has received in the last 48 hours or so. Some people from the community even helped him to rebuild his wall.
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