Thieves who stole tens of thousands of pounds worth of designer clothing from a boutique store in Co Londonderry have left the shop owner completely disheartened.
A gang of at least three people targeted the Queen Bee store on Broad Street in Magherafelt on Friday night and took shoes, clothes, bags and jewellery, as well as two tills and even a vacuum cleaner.
Owner Brenda McGlinchey said one of her assistants came across the shoes in the car park, and found a broken back door and an overturned mannequin when she turned up to open the shop on Saturday.
Footage of the break-in was captured by the shop’s security camera, and Ms McGlinchey said she is hopeful the culprits can be brought to justice.
The businesswoman, who opened the shop six years ago after a career as an air hostess, said she had been left feeling sickened at the thought the thieves had possibly timed their arrival to coincide with a big delivery of new stock earlier that day.
Sheepskin coats, boots, costume jewellery and items from the popular brand Virgo Lounge – just new in that day – were all boxed up and removed from the shop.
Ms McGlinchey said she suspects the thieves, who arrived at the shop around 11.15pm and stayed for 20 minutes according to the CCTV footage, were disturbed as they filled three boxes with goods but left them at the door before making off.
“From the footage you can see that one of them took a curtain off the changing room and then put the clothes and items the others were lifting into that to wrap it up,” explained the mother of two.
“You can actually see them dismissing things, so they seemed to know exactly what they were after.”
The incident has left Ms McGlinchey feeling shocked and unsure what to expect, she said.
“It has left us feeling like we don’t really know what we’re coming into in the mornings,” she said.
“I feel disheartened and sickened at the whole thing. For anyone that works hard to build their own business this kind of thing is awful.
“I always felt very safe working here before. This type of thing is quite a rare thing for the town I think.”
Ms McGlinchey said she has received a lot of support from customers since the ordeal and the shop was open again for business on Monday.