A Leicester shop owner said he and his staff feared what could happen after they were beaten by other thieves on their premises.
Vape Kings UK/Vape Planet owner Rahul Dhingra has spoken out after his store was again hit by thieves, with the latest incident seeing a man loot £2,000 worth of disposable vape kits from the store .
The raid, which was filmed by CCTV, has become an all-too-familiar tale for the Church Gate store, with Mr Dhingra saying he and his staff fear what might happen next.
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“We’re being targeted for what we have, that’s clear,” he told LeicestershireLive.
“I don’t understand how people can walk into my store and walk out straight with a box from my stock without thinking twice. It’s ridiculous.”
Late last year the store was hit by a group of youths who stole a box of disposable vape kits, the act was also caught on camera.
The latest theft happened last Sunday (January 23) when a man walked into the store and started browsing through the stock. He was gone in minutes.
At the time, Rahul was on duty with another member of staff, but he left soon after and it was while his only member of staff was tending to the shop that the man returned, this time with an alleged accomplice.
It is alleged that she acted as a distraction while the man picked up a box containing over 400 disposable vape kits before leaving the store.
The contents of the box were worth over £2,000.
Luckily, customers who were at Vape Kings UK at the time rushed to the trader’s side and chased him.
The thief dropped the box and fled the scene without their loot.
“We can’t go on like this,” Mr Dhingra said. “It’s a few times in as many weeks. Some of them were small, a kit or two here and there, but it was a big job. They knew what they were doing, it was obviously planned.
“I’m grateful someone was there and helped my staff, but we shouldn’t have to worry about that. We may have to change everything we do now to prevent this from happening again.
To protect himself and staff, Rahul said he was considering locking the doors to the store, forcing people to knock on the door to enter.
It’s a decision he fears will dissuade many.
“It sends the wrong message, I know, but what else can we do?” he said. “We have to keep people safe, it is my duty to do so. Having to knock to get in is extreme, but we might have to.
Keeping stock hidden away from display was also touted as an option for the Leicester store, but Mr Dhingra said once again it would have a “major effect” on business.
“If people don’t see what we store, they’ll assume we don’t have it. They won’t buy anything and leave. We will lose business as a result.
“It’s going to have a major effect on trade whatever we do.”
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