BRIDGETOWN, N.S. - When Jennifer Crouse went to unlock the door at her bookstore Saturday morning, it just pushed open. She saw white powder on the floor and thought something had fallen from the ceiling. What she found inside took a few minutes to process. The place was wrecked.
Sometime late Sept. 28 or early Sept. 29, vandals had sprayed a fire extinguisher on the books, ripped out phone lines, ransacked her work station, stole a computer monitor and keyboard, and knocked over shelves containing thousands of books.
Saturday evening Cindy MacDonald checked on Temple on Queen just down the street from Endless Shores Books only to find out that inside the music and catering venue it was all broken glass and vandalized walls and floors. Trays of glasses were smashed. Food prepped for a Sunday night concert had been dumped into a blue bag but later abandoned behind the building. Other food like dip and condiments had been thrown at walls and floors.
Entry had been gained by smashing a small ground floor window.
MacDonald and business partner Jennifer D’Aubin found bags from Crouse’s bookstore inside Temple on Queen, linking the two crimes together.
At both places the Annapolis District RCMP were called in and processed the crime scenes with assistance from the RCMP Forensic Identification Section.
“It took me maybe 10 minutes to realize that those shelves over there had actually come down,” said Crouse. “That’s when I was really sad – when I saw that.”
The powder from the fire extinguisher covered the front part of the store and her work station and Sunday was spent cleaning up that mess. “Today we’re going to try to get the shelves back up,” she said Monday morning. “Re-alphabetizing sections is going to be fun.”
She said she was in shock Saturday when she came in, and heartbroken to see all the mess that would have to be cleaned up.
“But I’m not angry. The people of Bridgetown have been so amazing. I’ve got lots of people volunteering to come in today to help us clean this up and I’ll be up and running hopefully tomorrow.”
For D’Aubin, the late Friday night or early Saturday morning break-in was at least the sixth time in the last few months.
“I’ve lived in this area my whole life. I don’t even know how many generations of my family have lived in this area,” D’Aubin said. “When I grew up I don’t even think we had a key for our front door. We never locked our doors. That’s just the way that it was. I think most people were like that. It’s not that way now. That’s how much things have changed even in just the time that I’ve grown up. I would never have expected that this would have happened.”
D’Aubin said theft is one thing, and while she doesn’t condone it, she understands it.
“I just think that vandalism takes it up another level,” she said. “It was just pointless and senseless. It’s disheartening is what it is.”
D’Aubin appreciates the efforts of police.
“I do believe the RCMP are being diligent,” D’Aubin said. “They were here, they spent time here looking everything over. I know they’ve upped their patrols in the area. I can’t ask them to be my personal security.”
She thinks there is an onus on community as well.
“I think we as a community cannot expect the RCMP to do all the work. I think that we as a community have to step up,” she said. “We have to start talking to each other. We have to start keeping an eye out for each other. That’s what we need to do. That’s what’s going to be helpful.”
“Its very saddening to see these type of incidents in our community,” said RCMP Const. Cheryl Ponee. “It’s one thing to have a break-in, but for property to be completely destroyed for no purpose, is just heart breaking.”
She said police are encouraging anyone with any information to contact the Annapolis District RCMP.
“We also are asking that members of the community keep an eye out for each other and report any suspicious people or incidents, no matter how minor in nature, to the RCMP,” she said.
Reach the Annapolis District RCMP at 902-665-4481, or call Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers toll free at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), submit a secure web tip at www.crimestoppers.ns.ca, or use the P3 Tips App.