LORAIN, Ohio (WJW) – Their business is called “Smokerz Paradise,” but the owners of a vape store in Lorain say their lives have become a living hell as the result of a series of break-ins.
They say a group of thieves has been targeting the store on Colorado Avenue, smashing their way in five times over the past three months, including twice in the past week.
After using a rock or brick to break out the glass in the front door, the crooks waltz in and take thousands of dollars in merchandise each time before disappearing into the night.
The owners say, at this rate, the business will not survive.
“If they keep doing this, I’m going to close it. I’m going to close my business. I’m not making any money. I’m about to close it, and I’m going to open something else,” said Marwan Suleiman.
Suleiman and his family have grown accustomed to being awakened in the middle of the night by the alarm company, notifying them that the store has been broken into again.
The family is frustrated because they have turned over surveillance video of the break-ins to Lorain police and given detectives the names of the juveniles that they suspect are committing the crimes, but no arrests have been made.
“To be honest with you, it’s not fair. I mean, you have to do something about it… The kids, you can talk to the parents, you can talk to the family, talk to the mom, the dad, next time you do this again, you’re going to jail, paying for the damage,” said Suleiman.
The cost of replacing the glass in the front door after each break-in is $1,000, and the family says they are reluctant to replace the door this time because they know the thieves will be back.
They are also reluctant to file insurance claims because they know their rates will go up significantly.
Lorain residents, some of whom have benefited from some of the products sold at the store, are worried that the business is going to close.
“I suffer from PTSD, anxiety, depression, chronic pain and it’s taken me off of 28 different medications that the pharmacies want to continue to give me. It has improved my life,” said Jack Skinner. “It’s unfair what’s been happening at the store.”
The owners are hoping that action by police or the families of the juveniles they believe are responsible will stop the rash of break-ins.
“What are the families doing, mom and dad? Leaving the kids out at night, three o’clock in the morning, hanging out outside. Why are they allowing that?” asked Suleiman.
“When I was a minor and got in trouble, I got in trouble, I went to lock-up, I went to JDC. You know, what’s the difference now?” Jack Skinner said.
The owners think they may have a solution to the break-in problem. They are hoping to get a couple of German shepherds, train them as guard dogs and then keep them inside the store each night.