Smoke shop open 24/7 after six break-ins


Photo by Valerie Brown.

Seth Cohen

Most of the businesses in University Plaza stay open for regular business hours, but Matt Sturgeon, manager of Twilight Boutique, now keeps his business open 24/7.

The smoke shop has had six break-ins and robberies already, according to police records. Twilight Boutique is now open 24 hours to avoid any more robbery attempts.

“Our shop is pretty hidden,” Sturgeon said. “Those who break in the store think it’s the perfect place to steal, and it’s not. We’re just trying to run a business.”

Sturgeon said he and the other associates worry about their own safety as well as customers.

“We have alarms and surveillance cameras as protection,” Sturgeon said. “But anything can happen at any time, and so far nothing has occurred.”

Police records state the first break-in happened on Halloween night of last year when someone smashed the front door and ran away. The most recent incident occurred Sept. 12 when a suspect smashed one of the windows and stole $170 worth of potpourri and bath salts.

“Potpourri and bath salts are used for aroma therapy, which can help you relax,” said Derrick Dragovich, supervising manager of Twilight Boutique. “Unfortunately, people abuse it for some form of consumption and that’s not what’s intended for its original purpose.

Only two people have been arrested for the six separate incidents.

On May 8, a suspect robbed the shop at gunpoint, stealing $75 worth of potpourri. Sturgeon was the only one working at the time of the incident.

“Someone came in with a bandanna on his face, so it was hard to get a good look,” “Sturgeon said. “After that incident, the customers were a bit shaken up, and so was I, so we installed a camera outside our store.”

After the break-ins, Sturgeon and Dragovich both said they agree that safety is a priority. Since the shop’s 24-hour opening, no incidents have occurred.

Ed Waller, owner of All-Pro Sportscenter, also located on Cherry Street, said he’s never had any troubles with his store in terms of safety and thinks it will stay that way.

“Our store is fine,” Waller said. “We haven’t had any problem whatsoever, not even theft.”

Sturgeon said the police stop by in the middle of the night, roughly at 3 a.m., to check on how they’re doing.

“Cops know we run a smoke shop, but they also know we run a business,” Sturgeon said. “It’s nice to know that we’ll get checked on to know we’re safe because in the end, that’s all we want is a safe business.”

Contact Seth Cohen at [email protected].