Small business owners in Stockton need help identifying thieves

Drycleaners Co-Op was broken into for the third time in less than a year resulting in thousands of dollars in losses.

STOCKTON, Calif. — A small LGBTQ-owned business was broken into and burglarized for the third time in less than a year Wednesday morning in Downtown Stockton.

This time, the business suffered what it estimated to be thousands of dollars in loss of merchandise as well as personal belongings of the store owners.

Oliver Opus, co-owner of Drycleaners Co-Op said this time they were able to capture the crime on security footage.

Drycleaners is now asking for the public’s help in identifying the suspected thieves caught on camera.

“They broke the window around 2 am and then 10 or 15 minutes later they came back to check if anyone would be there,” Opus said. “No one was, so they just went inside and they meandered for a good amount of time and they basically just went shopping.”

After reviewing the footage, the business noticed the burglars may have scoped the place out beforehand.

“They went through the window and then went straight behind the register to get my camera and then they left,” said Opus. “So, they knew exactly what they came for.”

Drycleaners is a Co-Op space that sells clothes, art, jewelry, plants and other items from local vendors as a way for creative members of the community to make passive income.

“Just from one vendor alone like $500 worth of stuff and they took from probably 8 plus vendors,” said Opus.

Opus said he estimates that along with the nearly $1,000 to replace the broken window, many of his vendors lost part of their livelihood.

“It’s more than just stealing money, it affects families, it affects people in the community,” Opus said. “We pick local vendors, people in surrounding areas like these are real people.”

The business also hosts pop-up events and shows for local artists and creatives, including Opus who is well-known in the community for his musical performances.

However, amid all other losses, the thieves took the artist’s guitars and other equipment.

“They took my personal instruments and wires and amps,” Opus said. “They were able to get one amp, one was too big to get through the window, but that one amp alone was around $500.”

After experiencing the frequency of burglaries, with this one being the worst so far, the shop is now making decisions about how to move forward during this difficult time.

“One option that we didn’t really want to do but have to think about is not opening our doors until we have better security measures,” Opus said “That’s going to affect over 60 other vendors because some of them rely on this as their sole job or us or sole form of income.”

Opus said they are also discussing ways they can strengthen security measures while trying to adjust for its losses.

“Some people have offered to donate Gates to put up on our windows, which is really, really cool,” Opus said.

The full shared camera footage of the incident as well as additional photos can be found on Drycleaners’ Instagram page.

Opus said they filed a report with Stockton Police Department. Any information about the suspected thieves can be shared with the police as they investigate the incident.

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