A burglar or burglars busted into two businesses on North Circle Drive either Sunday night or Monday morning searching only for cash about three weeks after similar incidents at two other North Circle Drive locations.
Lori Parker, owner of Florist in the Forest, discovered someone had forced their way into her shop but nothing was missing after she arrived there Monday morning.
In the front of the building, a bookcase had been moved, clothes were knocked over and a lattice nailed to a wall was pried back. When that yielded only a wall, the perpetrator apparently tried to enter through a side area padlocked from the inside. That yielded a little more success as the person or persons then made their way through an outside store area only to discover another formidable barrier to the inside.
Rather than give up, the burglar pried at a sliding-glass door frame until accessing the lock, then made their way to the inside front, saw that the cash register was open and the till was empty, slammed the cash register drawer closed, then knocked over some Native American jewelry and left.
“They worked really hard to get in and they have nothing to show for it,” said Parker, laughing.
Nothing else in the store was disturbed but she has a big mess to clean up. The burglar apparently isn’t the smartest at his/her craft. “If they had looked in the front door [window], they would’ve seen that there was no money in the till,” said Parker.
Terri French, owner of Let it Shine gift shop in Oakwood Village, wasn’t so lucky. She was devastated to find her shop’s door pried open, her cash register smashed and cash gone when she arrived at her shop Monday morning.
But again, none of her merchandise was missing.
Phyllis Brown of Prairie Dove suffered the same on a Thursday about three weeks ago. Someone shimmied open a small window in her shop, “destroyed my cash register and took all my money,” she said. “There’s no longer cash in the cash register overnight,” she said, and the windows are all nailed now.
“The next night, someone went over to Mountain Mike’s Customer Leather and took all his firewood,” she said, “but his daughter … [who was sleeping in the shop] heard someone out there, shined a flashlight and they ran off.”
Mountain Mike said they took $200 worth of firewood that he sells at his shop. But he isn’t letting this get him down. “I can’t let one lowlife ruin it for everyone else,” he said.
The owners said all the incidents were reported to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. Capt. Ray Wood of the Hemet Station had been out of the office for 10 days and had not garnered enough information to comment by press time.
“I feel sorry for people who have to do that and I’ll pray for them,” said French. “But I feel sorry for us, too. These little businesses are barely eking by as it is.”