Burlington business owners reeling after 2 break-ins in a row

Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 10:13 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 20, 2023 at 11:06 AM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The owners of a Burlington clothing shop are reeling after two break-ins in one weekend.

Sarah Steward and her fiancé, Mark Miller, discovered the break-in Saturday. A door to their Burlington shop, Banana Stand, was smashed in and the store was ransacked.

There’s never a good time to get burglarized, but the couple feels especially devastated with Black Friday and the holidays approaching.

“This time of year is especially hard because local businesses rely so much on that holiday foot traffic and supporting local for Christmas gifts or any holiday,” Steward said. “It’s just a little more heart-wrenching.”

And as if one break-in wasn’t enough, Banana Stand was hit again the next day.

The thieves smashed in a window and store cameras showed two people entering the store twice that morning. Burlington police dusted for fingerprints and took crime photos.

The scene was bleak with clothing racks tipped over, glass littering the floor and few items spared.

Miller struggled to grapple with the loss.

“Tens of thousands of dollars worth of inventory at this point, yesterday and then coming back today,” Miller said, shaking his head. “It’s going to be a long rebuilding process for our store.”

Miller hopes to recoup some of the loss through insurance. But the inventory is virtually irreplaceable, with Miller making much of it by hand or traveling overseas to source vintage pieces. The couple will sort through the remaining items this week to see whether there’s enough to reopen for Black Friday.

Despite the major setback, Miller is adamant that Banana Stand isn’t going anywhere.

“The fact that this has happened isn’t going to let us get brought down or anything like that,” Miller said. “We believe in the Banana Stand community.”

Miller and Steward are working with police to identify two people caught on camera during the break-ins.

They encourage people to keep an eye out for vintage Nikes and Jordans, two of their signature shoe styles.