A Penticton father of three is distraught and considering leaving the city after his vape shop business was allegedly broken into for the second time in six months.
Justin Chrystal, 35, says he received a call early Sunday morning that Corner Vapes Penticton, located at 407 Martin St., was vandalized by thieves.
“I can’t get ahead with people breaking into my place and taking food off of my kid’s table,” he told Global Okanagan on Sunday.
“I missed Easter with my children this morning because I am dealing with this. You can’t pay for that.”
Chrystal said at least $1,000 worth of product was stolen. The front door and glass display cases were also smashed, he added.
“They took various atomizers, devices and marijuana vaporizers, as well as some extract vaporizers, and they were really careless, and it’s frustrating because I pre-emptively leave my displays unlocked in case somebody breaks in and they don’t have to break a couple hundred dollars’ worth of glass on each display,” he said.
Chrystal said he decided not to renew his insurance, which lapsed on April 1, after the last break-and-enter. He told the insurance company he was shopping around for a new provider.
“I’m behind on some bills and, most importantly … my insurance (is) lapsing because they still haven’t finalized the claim from the last break-in,” he said.
Chrystal has operated the business for the past two years in Penticton and is the father of three girls, aged 13, 10 and 4.
“You not only took my possessions and made it difficult for me to make an income but you took a great day from me, and it’s upsetting,” he said.
Chrystal posted an emotional appeal to Facebook asking for the vandalism to come to an end as it’s crippling him financially.
“This is the second time you guys have done this to me. My whole life is in here. I have three kids. I don’t have the money to fix this. I didn’t have the money to pay my insurance last month. I’m a good person; I don’t deserve this,” he said in the video.
Chrystal said Penticton RCMP responded Sunday morning and that an officer seized a few items to test for fingerprints.
Chrystal also plans to turn over the surveillance video footage from his shop, which shows two masked men breaking into the store and taking items from the display case.
He believes the theft could be drug-related.
“I believe that it is the homeless addicts on the street. I think that someone was desperate to fund an addiction or a craving, and they did what they had to do for that purpose, but I think it’s cowardly,” he said.
Global News has reached out to the Penticton RCMP detachment for comment.
A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to support Chrystal and his family.