CONCORD – A Grinch tries to ruin Christmas for two Concord businesses a week after the big holiday.
Surveillance footage shows a burglar breaking into a children’s dance studio and an aquatic pet store over the weekend, stealing money, electronics and even Christmas presents.
The incident happened around 5.30am on Saturday morning, and the thief can be seen in the video, dressed head to toe in black and wearing a black mask.
He broke a glass window and entered Cali Kid Corals, which sells exotic fish and coral.
“What he took was pretty much a few aquarium lights, and then cash … other than that, he just messed things up,” said Cali Kid Corals owner Ben Shapiro.
Surveillance footage shows the thieves rummaging through cupboards and tables for about 20 to 30 minutes. Shapiro said the thieves took no more than $800 in cash.
The thieves then went to a nearby dance studio and broke a glass door to gain access.
Sarah Brinkman, owner and director of Clayton Valley Dance Academy, said: “When I walked in, everything was in disarray. Every supplies, every drawer, door, cupboard was open. Everything was broken. on the floor.”
Thieves ransacked the supply room and stole a laptop, several tablet computers, some power tools, a box of gig supplies and Christmas gifts for students and faculty, Brinkman said.
“Initially, (I) was just sad and scared because it was a place for kids and I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to go into a dance studio. There was really nothing of value here,” Brinkman said.
Brinkman said it was their first break-in. They have been working at the Clayton Valley Shopping Center on Ygnacio Valley Road for about 15 years. The two adjacent businesses are located at the back of the mall, away from high traffic areas.
“There is a lack of kindness here — kindness in general — especially to take advantage of a place that is suitable for children,” Brinkman said.
She said the dance studio has 350 students. The youngest is 2 1/2 years old.
“It’s a second home for a lot of my students. They spend hours here after school, sometimes more than at home,” Brinkman said.
As for Shapiro, he said he just completed an insurance claim for the July burglary. This is the second break-in in six months. They only stayed there for two years.
“It’s definitely a bit frustrating because it happens so often,” Shapiro said. “Financially, it can be a strain, and it’s going to put a strain on our business.”
Concord police say a burglary has occurred. Throughout last year, police responded to 418 burglaries. This year, they responded to 455 thefts since January 17. January to December 7.
Brinkman said her students did not let the theft affect their spirits. They picked up the pieces and performed an end-of-year dance recital for parents hours after the break-in.
“We’re just going to come together and support each other and move forward,” Brinkman said.
Concord police said they have not arrested anyone in the case and are working to identify the suspect.