After his Scott Street coffee shop was hit by a break-and-enter last week, Ben Morelli is urging other business owners and local residents to take the necessary precautions.
“At the end of the day, everybody can be a little more prepared,” Morelli noted.
When he arrived at “From the Grind Up” to open earlier last week, Morelli discovered the back door had been broken open.
“When I first saw it, I wasn’t quite sure if they had gotten in because they used a pry bar to pull up the back door,” he recalled.
“It didn’t look like a very big space.”
“When I came inside, I went to the back [and] noticed they had gotten the latch open, as well.
“I checked for damage and there was no damage, so I checked the till and there was just the float there and the money was gone,” he added.
Morelli said after running his own business for three years, he finds that setbacks such as this don’t surprise him as much as they used to.
“I’d like to say I was more shocked than I was but it wasn’t shock,” he conceded.
“I think I just collected myself and called the police, and tried to deal with it.”
His shop was closed the morning after the break-in to assess the damages and determine what was missing.
Repairs to the door were done and no other unexpected closures occurred.
While the OPP said the break-in at “From The Grind Up” is the only case to have occurred recently, other local businesses confirmed they also have been victims of mischief.
Nothing was stolen at the local Salvation Army but Lt. Ryan MacDonald said there was damage to a window.
Meanwhile, “The Chip Truck” on Scott Street was broken into, although only four pop cans were swiped.
“I guess they got [the awning] open, reached in and got a couple drinks, and that’s all they could get,” noted owner Darren Tetreault.
“I don’t think they were able to get inside,” he added, noting the till was empty and out of reach.
“Nothing has ever been touched here for the last couple years and all of the sudden, a couple nights in a row, people have been trying to get in here,” Tetreault lamented.
Morelli believes situations such as these also can teach a lesson to business owners.
“At the end of the day, you have to just take the things as a lesson, as well,” he reasoned.
“There was mistakes that I have made,” Morelli admitted. “I could have made the door more secure, my cameras are running now, and the safe is working now.
“It’s little things that you put off and think you have more time with.
“Just don’t put off security issues,” he stressed. “That was the biggest lesson I learned.”
Morelli also said while the recent break-ins are disappointing, he still believes the district is a great community to live in.
“I think community safety—it’s not just the police’s job, it’s everybody’s job,” he remarked.
“Fortunately, I think that these things don’t happen often in Fort Frances,” Morelli added.
“We live in a great community that is safe, but people shouldn’t have that perception of safety to the point where they’re unprepared.”
A 16-year-old has been arrested and charged in connection with the break-in at “From the Grind Up.”
Anyone with information on these incidents is asked to contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122.
If you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.