Chris Wiser of Wiser’s Wide World of Collectibles is still in business despite repeated robberies of his Walnut Grove store.

‘I’m going to try and keep going’

Owner of a Walnut Grove collectibles store says he is losing staff and money following rash of smash-and-grab robberies

An established Langley collectibles store is still open for business, but the owner is feeling defeated after a recent rash of break-ins nearly shut him down.

“I’m going to try and keep going, but I’m losing staff and losing money.  To be honest it makes me feel sick when I think about what has all happened,” said Chris Wiser of Wiser’s Wide World of Collectibles.

On Jan. 5, a vehicle smashed into the boarded-up bay door of the store, at 201 Street and 96 Avenue, hitting the sprinkler system and causing a flood. It was the third break-in in 40 days.

According to Langley RCMP, someone tried to gain access on Dec. 15. On Dec. 18, police responded to an alarm at 4 a.m. and found a pickup truck with its engine running and lights on at the scene. They blocked in the truck but nobody was inside it. In that case, the truck was used to smash into the building. The thieves made off with around $3,500 in hockey cards. Police dogs were called but were unable to track the suspects. Police seized the vehicle.

On Dec. 30, someone tried to drill through the plywood installed following the Dec. 18 break-in, said police.

“This time [on Jan. 5, the smash of the plywood] hit the sprinkler destroying a lot of the store. After 28 years I may have to walk away as my heart is broken,” Wiser wrote on the Wiser’s Collectibles Facebook page.

The flood damaged a lot of the inventory. Police said video surveillance has been obtained and the investigation continues.

During an attempted robbery in late November, a staff member was pepper sprayed in the face.

It’s been a terrible run for a family business that has been the go-to place for Langley families on the hunt for everything from Beanie Babies to comic books and Pokemon.

Wiser believes he is being targeted by a particular group of people.

“They are going after the same stuff, and it is the same amount of people involved in the break-ins,” he said. Wiser would like to see police do more to patrol the area. He is now having to pay to have security on site.

“We’ve been around a long time and tons of Langley residents come see us regularly. It would be a shame if we weren’t here anymore.”

Despite the challenges Wiser faces, he is still putting on a pre-release event for Oath of Gate Watch this weekend. Events are taking place all weekend and registration is required.

If you know anything about any of these break-ins, call Langley RCMP at 604-532-3200 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

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