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RENTON, Wash. — Another driver rammed into a Renton storefront this week, burglarizing the store before escaping with thousands of dollars in products. Ahead of Christmas, small business owners in Renton are questioning what can be done to ensure the future of their businesses.
Early Monday morning, Wizard’s Keep Games was broken into again when three suspects reversed a car into its front glass doors, shattering them. Burglars stole more than $11,000 worth of special-edition comic books and left the store’s owners with a hefty parts replacement bill.
“The estimate from the people who do the glass say it’s about– at least $10,000,” said Jason Bessonnette, owner of the store. “There’s glass all over the place… inside and out. Door was completely bent back on the bottom.”
This is the fifth time that his store has been broken into since they opened three years ago, and Bessonnette said three of those times were this year alone.
“This may be the beginning of the end,” Bessonnette wrote on his store’s Facebook page. “I just don’t have the funds to keep paying for this stuff.”
Community members expressed frustration with the ongoing issue.
“Renton doesn’t seem like a really good place to do business right now,” said Breeze Grigas, a loyal customer at Wizard’s Keep.
Just last week, KING 5 also reported how three separate storefronts in Renton were smashed with a car. The Renton Police Department said they are recommending to businesses that they invest in bollards, concrete barriers that are mounted into the ground with the goal of protecting businesses from cars. They said they will often make these recommendations to either business owners or complex owners.
Additionally, officers recommend business owners hide any visible valuables and ensure that their registers do not contain cash, according to a department spokesperson.
At Wizard’s Keep, they had heavy-duty locks on the door, but the force of the car broke the glass and the burglars were able to get inside. Instead of investing in bollards, Bessonnette’s choosing instead to move his shop elsewhere in two months. Still, he unfortunately now has to pay for a new front door in the meantime.
Renton police believe the suspects from this incident are not the same as last week’s smash and grabs, since three burglars were involved in Monday’s crime and they drove a white Toyota 4Runner instead of a red Ford F-150.
“This is not a cunning plan,” Grigas said. “He’s like the lowest-grade Batman villain just like driving around Renton.”
Now, the gaming community is rallying around them, enthusiastic about the store’s importance to their lives.
“This is like my home,” said Tim Grant, a loyal customer.
“It’s really important, especially in like post-pandemic, we’re all desperate for social interaction,” Grigas said.
Customers like Grant and Griga came together this week to raise more than $3,000 to help with replacement costs for the door so that Wizard’s Keep can keep pressing on.
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