Eastern Iowa Jewelry Store Loses Thousands in Merchandise Theft
The culprits reportedly took nearly $30,000 in merchandise. Owner Harold Van Beek said:
In the afternoon, clear daylight, they started to grind through one of the security plates in the back of the door. They smashed a whole alarm panel.
Van Beek estimated nearly $30,000 in merchandise but added that the total damage from the break-in could be somewhere between $70,000-$100,000. Again, this came just before "Black Friday" and the busiest shopping month of the year for the store in December. According to Van Beek's wife and co-owner, Astrid:
December is our biggest month, December is 20% of our year— 25%, 30% sometimes
The National Retail Federation, meanwhile, conducted a survey saying that retail theft is on the rise across the country. In the latest survey, from 2021, about 69% of retailers said they had seen an increase in organized retail crime activity over the past year.
While North Liberty itself appears to only be a small part of this trend, this is unfortunately not the Van Beeks' first rodeo. In fact, it's one of the things they came to America to avoid. Harold told KCRG:
When I had my store in the Netherlands, you know, we had two armed robberies
The Van Beeks are holding out hope the culprits are caught but for now, they simply say they are soldiering on, into a holiday season they hope can still be somewhat fruitful.