Skate shop shaken by break-ins

first_img“We’re hoping for a lead in the case,” Ketelsleger said, adding that it doesn’t matter if the tip came to the police or the skate shop. Travis Swope, 32, of Buena Park, thinks the thieves could have a booth at a swap meet or perhaps plan to open a store of their own. “They have enough stuff … it’s irregardless of brands. They’re grabbing as much as they can,” he said. “Fifteen to 20 percent of our merchandise was stolen. We’ve been closed for days. We don’t get to sleep. We sleep on the floor of the shop or a couch in the back waiting for the glass guy.” Brandon Swope, 35, of Whittier said they’re losing business right now because they don’t have items the customers want. WHITTIER – Travis Swope is offering free skateboards for a year to catch the thieves who broke into his store three times in six days. Burglars hit the Two Felons Skate Co. on Sept. 6, 9 and 12 and stole clothing, 103 skateboards, 30 pairs of shoes, backpacks and skateboard accessories. Swope, who owns the store with his brother, Brandon, estimated the stolen merchandise and damages totaled $10,000. The Swopes said that doesn’t include the lost income they’ve incurred because they had to close the shop at 14125 Lambert Road in Whittier for three days. Whittier police Lt. Chuck Ketelsleger said there were no fingerprints found and that they have no solid leads at this point. He hasn’t heard about the Swopes’ reward. “We don’t even have time to call our reps (to restock) before we get hit again,” he said. It’s not the only local skate shop recently hit. Diversion boardshop at 1417 W. Whittier Blvd. in La Habra was broken into Sept. 6 and 12. About $7,000 worth of merchandise was taken, according to owner Zak Koontz, 27, of Diamond Bar. La Habra and Whittier police haven’t determined yet if the cases are linked. There are similarities. All the burglaries happened early in the morning at skate shops in neighboring communities. The thieves got in by breaking glass doors. Two Felons Skate Co. is a hangout for many, both kids and adults. Anyone caught stealing will be banned for life, the Swopes said. And that has only happened once in the three years the store has been open. The Swopes don’t think the kids who hang out at the store were involved. They said the kids chased a shoplifter before and they feel comfortable leaving the youngsters in the store. They trust them. “The kids here are very loyal to us,” Travis Swope said. Shane English, 19, of Whittier is not a skater but often frequents the store. He’s one of several who offered to stay in the store when he heard of the break-ins. He’s positive it’s not any of the regulars and is angry at what happened. “It’s kind of ridiculous for anybody to come in and literally take food from a family’s plate,” English said. This isn’t the first time the place was burglarized. The store was broken into Jan. 13, February 2006 and September 2004. The owners have reinforced the vent and steel doors as a result. No one has been arrested in any of the cases, Travis Swope said. Hence, the reward this time is a skateboard deck a month. But the tip has to lead to the store’s merchandise. “This is our livelihood. I have five kids. My brother has three and an adopted son,” Travis Swope said. He figures if any tips come in, the skaters will tell them before the police. The Swopes are visiting smaller skate shops to see if anyone has been trying to sell items from their store. Travis Swope is checking eBay, Craig’s List and MySpace. They’re also spreading the word at local skate parks. “He doesn’t deserve this,” Ketelsleger said. “Obviously whoever did this doesn’t care about his well-being or his kids.” Anyone with information is asked to call Whittier police Detective Dave Elizarraras at (562) 945-8272 or the Two Felons Skate Co. at (562) 698-8199. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3026 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more