Despite crime, local business vows to continue

Published 1:06 pm Monday, October 23, 2017

AHOSKIE – A business owner here on Main Street is reeling financially after her store was broken into three times over the past 11 months, the latest crime occurring last weekend.

Meanwhile, the Ahoskie Police are investigating those cases, but have yet to make an arrest.

Jennifer Taylor, owner of Trunique Hair Store, located at 207 West Main Street, said she could ill afford to remain in business if these types of crimes continue.

“Me and my daughter work hard for everything we have,” Taylor said. “It makes me feel like crying when I see the damage (from the break-ins and theft of cash and items) it’s doing to my business. It’s hard for us. We are one of the few small business on Main Street.”

Her business was first robbed on Dec. 1, 2016 where items, to include a laptop computer and a cell phone, and cash were taken following an after-hours break-in. She stated it happened again in June of this year, and the latest incident took place in the early morning hours of Sunday, Oct. 15. In the latest case, beauty product items were stolen, to include hair weaves, as well as the store’s cash register.

Ahoskie Police Chief Troy Fitzhugh said that the empty cash register along with several hair weaves have been recovered.

“An (Ahoskie Police) officer on patrol noticed the forced entry into Trunique Hair Store at 5:40 a.m. on Oct. 16,” Fitzhugh said.

Video surveillance cameras at the business were viewed by the Ahoskie Police. Fitzhugh said they showed three suspects, each with their faces covered by hooded sweatshirts. He added that entry was gained by pushing in an air conditioner (window unit).

If caught, Fitzhugh said the suspects face charges of felony breaking and entering, felony larceny, felony safecracking (removing the store’s cash register), and misdemeanor damage/injury to real property.

“We are working this investigation; working leads to make an arrest or arrests in this case,” Fitzhugh stated.

Taylor confirmed the fact of the three suspects viewed on the surveillance camera, but believes others are involved.

“There may have been more watching outside,” she remarked.

“Someone may have seen teenagers hanging around in the front of my building that night,” Taylor added. “You can see (on the camera) several cars passing by while the robbers were inside.”

Despite the rash of robberies at her business, Taylor vowed to move forward.

“I will be adding more cameras and bars to my windows and doors,” she promised, “but I can’t afford this to continue to happen to me. I am a very small business with two employees. Me and my daughter, Anya, and my grand daughter, Brianna, run the store on Saturdays to save on cost. Due to the break-ins I will have to cut back on my hours and open at 9 a.m. and continue closing at 6 p.m. so that I can afford the extra security items.

“It really hurts small businesses when people think it’s okay to break-in and steal from them,” Taylor added.

Taylor said one way to help deter crime, especially in those cases where the culprits are teenagers, is for parents to know the whereabouts of their children and whom they are hanging out with.

“I am a Professional School Counselor and I raised two children,” Taylor stated.  They were never out at 9 p.m. or later in the street and they never stole from anyone.  If your children come home with a cash register and hair that you know they didn’t buy and they have no job, ask questions and take them to the police.”

Another impact of this crime is on the customers of Trunique Hair Store.

“Ms. Leary and her daughter work at the store during the week and they do a wonderful job with customer service,” Taylor noted. “People leave our store happy with their products. But now I have to replace everything that was broken before I can purchase additional products. I have to add additional security items before I can make additional purchases.

“I pray that parents will check their children and keep them in their homes,” she continued. “People don’t take from others. If I have something that you want, just ask. I have given to people many times in my life. Sometimes customers come in and do not have enough money to pay for products and I am willing to work with them so that they can leave with a wig or hair that they want or badly need. Often it’s because someone has died in their family, a person with cancer, or an older woman just wanting a new look.

“We are not rich in money, but we are rich with the love of God.  Please do not steal from Trunique Hair Store. Just ask and if we can help you we will,” Taylor concluded.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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