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'It’s been kind of bizarre': Newmarket music store hit 3 times by robbers

'It’s extremely unfortunate that we’ve had to endure this while we’re also dealing with closed doors,' Arts Music store says
20200512 arts music store video
The Arts Music Store on Eagle Street in Newmarket have been robbed twice in three months. The third attempted break-in on May 11, 2020 was unsuccesful. Screenshot

A long-established Newmarket music shop has been hit three times by robbers since February 2020 and now, its loyal customer base is sharing its security video in the hopes of helping to catch a thief.

The Arts Music Store on Eagle Street was robbed in the middle of the night on Feb. 11 and April 28, where a suspect can be seen on the store’s surveillance tape smashing through the bottom glass plane of the front door and making his way inside.

A security lock installed on the secondary door into the store after the first break-in slowed down the suspect in April, but not before making off with a total of about $3,000 in musical equipment during the two robberies, including a keyboard, guitars and related accessories, the shop’s digital marketing coordinator Ehron Phuller told NewmarketToday.

A suspect was stymied during a third attempted break-in May 11 at 2:39 a.m., when he realized he couldn’t get through a steel gate that was installed behind the front door.

Instead, the suspect vandalised the building by breaking three windows that were sealed with plywood and damaged a mural of the music shop’s students playing instruments. 

“It’s been kind of bizarre, these (suspects), I don’t believe, know much about musical instruments because they stole stuff that really doesn’t have a ton of value,” Phuller said, who has been working at the local store for 17 years. 

"We have been lucky to have never had a break-in in our 37 years of business here in Newmarket," he said. "It’s extremely unfortunate that we’ve had to endure this while we’re also dealing with closed doors. Luckily our community has greatly supported us on our online store that we will be able to weather the storm."

The video surveillance posted on the music store’s Facebook page has been shared more than 200 times. Customers are also searching online buy-and-sell sites to see if any of the equipment turns up for sale.

“There’s been lots of comments and people really want to help us out,” said Phuller. “We’ve been looking online at pawn shop sites and for private sales on online sites. Since we posted this on Facebook, we’ve had a number of people go to work for us and try to track down the equipment.”

The items stolen include an Arturia Keylab 49 keyboard, a Boss GT-1 guitar effects processor, a Squier Jazzmaster in surf pearl, a Squier Mini Strat in tornio red, Fender Vintera ‘70s Telecaster in black, and a Korg minilogue analog synth.

“The (suspects) were probably in and out of the store in about two minutes,” Phuller said.

The shop decided to go public with the break-ins to share what they have been through and to warn other businesses.

“This incident, as much as it sucks that it happened now, will not take us down, we’ll be fine,” said Phuller. “But we were mainly worried about this happening in Newmarket, and the last thing we want is to have this happen to a business that might be vulnerable to this type of thing.”

“We lost $3,000 in product, but some businesses may not be able to recover from that, especially with broken and smashed doors, and the cleanup required,” he added. 

So far, the cost to repair the damage has outstripped the value of what was stolen. A steel gate is about $1,000, a security lock $800, and the windows alone ring in at $500 a piece to replace.

“Because of the first break-in, we scheduled somebody to come and put a steel gate in that front door, we replaced the window, and reinforced the secondary entrance door lock, that was scheduled the morning after we got our second robbery. It’s so bizarre,” said Phuller. “The guy came in to install the gate and said, ‘Oh, the glass people are here, too, what’s going on?’ I said, we had a robbery not eight hours ago. It was wild.”

Phuller said York Regional Police investigated, and they are doing their best, but there’s only so much they can do. To date, no suspects have been apprehended.

“There’s no hard evidence to go on,” he said.

The store has built a thriving musical community over its 37 years in business and many of its staff have been there for decades.

“We still have the same basic plan, which is to build the musical community in our area and if we can, spread it around Canada,” Phuller said.

There are more than 1,000 guitars hanging around on the Eagle Street sales floor, from entry level to sky’s the limit, with a value upward of $17,000, he said.

Its music lessons department boasts 1,000-plus students, with 30 to 40 teachers on board.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the community, the music store has moved a majority of its business online, including music lessons via the online platform, Zoom. It also created sales positions dedicated to online sales about two years ago.

The non-essential business was ordered closed by the Ontario government on March 24, but it is now permitted to conduct business using curbside pickup since some of the restrictions put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 were lifted on May 11 for retailers with a storefront location.

For more information of The Arts Music Store, visit here.