A spate of four break-ins and an attempted break to Charles Street businesses took place over the course of two evenings last weekend.
On Sunday, Aug. 20, at about 9:34 a.m., officers responded to a radio call to investigate the premises at Soodee, located at 63A Charles St., after receiving word of a breaking and entering at that address, according to Boston Police.
Upon arrival, offices observed that a windowpane adjacent to the lock on the front door had been shattered, and that a brick was lying on the floor of the business. Police found items located near the cash register scattered across the floor, as well as drops of blood on a plastic container near the cash register.
Police contacted the shop’s owner, who responded to the scene and conducted an inventory of the store, which revealed that a box of rings previously located near the front door, and the cash register containing an unknown sum, were both missing.
A surveillance video that the business furnished to police shows a male suspect wearing a blue sweatshirt and black pants throwing a brick through the store’s glass on Saturday, Aug. 19, at around 11:53 p.m.
Diane Agoun, the shop’s owner, had always wanted to have a presence on Beacon Hill before expanding her business from its original Newbury Street location to her second store on Charles Street, but in light of recent events, she said she no longer feels safe there.
“It makes me scared that he or someone else can come back at any time,” said Agoun, who expressed deep concern since the same preparator had perhaps returned to target Charles Street businesses for a second night in a row, even after police had responded to the earlier incidents. (Soodee on Charles Street was also targeted by vandals who broke a window more than a year ago, added Agoun.)
Tellingly, Agoun has now invested in a deadbolt for her Charles Street store.
REMY Creations at 96 Charles St. also fell prey to a breaking and entering overnight that same evening.
Upon responding to the store for a reported breaking-and-entering at around 10:41 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 20, the officer observed that one of the glass panels in the business’s front door had been shattered, just below the doorknob.
A store employee told the officer she was walking down Charles Street at about 9:20 a.m., when she initially observed damage to the front door. She went home to retrieve her key and along with her father, returned to the store at about 9:55 a.m., when she photographed its condition with her cellphone. Photos showed a mannequin had been knocked over, and that several items behind the counter were in disarray. An iPad, valued at $900, was also reported missing from the store.
The culprit again apparently left behind some blood on a doorknob, which was collected as evidence by Boston Police, said Remy Schaefer Stressenger, the store’s proprietor who was working at her other store on Nantucket when the employee called to tell her about the Charles Street break-in.
E.R. Butler & Co. at 38 Charles St. was hit shortly after midnight on Sunday, Aug. 20.
While the perpetrator attempted to smash the window, safety glass ultimately thwarted the entry. The alarm was activated, however, alerting police to the scene.
In response to the incident, Nina Castellion, the store’s showroom manager, said, “We can each help to support the safety of Beacon Hill by removing loose bricks, downloading the 3-1-1 application to reporting incidents, and calling 9-1-1 when it is warranted.”
Lana Barakat, owner of December Thieves, a women’s clothing boutique at 51 Charles St., as well as Thieves Next Door at 53 Charles St., was notified at about 11:43 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 19, that the alarm had sounded at December Thieves. Apparently the culprit had attempted to throw a brick through the window, she said, but instead, it hit the frame and perhaps grazed the window without breaking the glass.
Thieves Like Us was hit overnight the following evening.
At around 4:40 a.m., officers already in the area in response to another Charles Street business break received word that a commercial alarm had been sounded at Thieves Next Door, according to Boston Police.
Upon arrival, officers observed that a window in the front door was broken, and that the door had been left unlocked. Police were able to enter the building and secured the premises until Barakat arrived.
Barakat later furnished police with a surveillance video showing a male suspect wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, along with black pants and black-and-white sneakers, breaking into the store.
The brick apparently used to break the shop’s window was found left on a counter inside the store, said Barakat, who added that a brick had been used to access or in an attempt to access the premises in all three instances involving her stores.
Besides last weekend, December Thieves was also hit overnight on May 7. A cash register was looted during that incident, said Barakat, while a loose brick apparently used to shatter the window was found on the ground next to the door inside the store.
An exasperated Barakat told this reporter she has called the city “multiple times” to fix the brick sidewalks in front of both of her stores to no avail. She believes that bricks from the sidewalk were likely used in all three incidents that targeted her stores.
Additionally, Barakat said, “An increased police presence on Charles Street is critical. The police presence needs to be there, patrolling the streets.”
Moreover, on Monday, Aug. 21, at around 4:37 a.m., officers responded to an alarm sounded at J. Grady Home at 133 Charles St., according to Boston Police.
Upon arrival, officers observed that one of the front door’s glass panels had been shattered, but the front door was still secure.
Jeff Grady, who, together with his wife, Joan, owns J. Grady Home, which has another location in Gloucester, reported to police that he had a surveillance video showing a suspect inside his business. The suspect was seen searching the cash register to no avail and didn’t take any items from the store before leaving emptyhanded. In the video, the suspect is seen walking over to the cash register, which contained no money, as a sign posted outside the store clearly attests.
This was the third break-in to the store, following earlier incidents in August of 2021 and March of 2022, respectively, said Grady, but in all three cases, the would-be thieves left emptyhanded, since there was never any money in the register.
“It’s disconcerting,” said Grady. “I have no issue with the police response and how they followed up. I generally feel safe here, but I’m concerned about our property and our store, and other people here. It’s how do we avoid it from happening again and seeing if we can do anything about getting more of a police presence [in the neighborhood].”