LIHUE — Three men smashed the glass storefront of an Anchor Cove Shopping Center smoke shop about 10 p.m. Monday and made off with a dozen glass water pipes, according to the owner of the establishment.
“They didn’t even go for the register. They went straight for the pipes,” said Brandon Duff, owner and operator of High Tide Kauai.
Security camera footage shows three men wearing hoodies with masks and gloves running into the shop after breaking a glass door with a monkey wrench, quickly spreading out to grab the bongs off of shelves and then running back out the front door about 10 seconds later.
According to Duff, the break-in went unnoticed for a few hours, until around 1 a.m., when a janitor saw the broken glass and called the police.
Duff believes he is familiar with at least one of the culprits and can identify him in spite of the mask.
For the time being, Duff is left to replace the stolen merchandise — he said 12 glass pipes were stolen, altogether worth about $2,000 — and pay for about a $1,000 in repairs out of his own pocket.
The store’s insurance policy holder “is not covering a thing,” according to Duff, who said the deductible would cost more than the damages.
The theft came at an especially inopportune time for Duff, who opened High Tide Kauai just three months ago, offering “a variety of smoking accessories, with focus on quality glass pieces.” Like all new business owners, Duff is facing an uphill battle as he works to make his shop profitable.
“Honestly, man, this could ruin it,” Duff said when asked how the financial setback will affect the store’s prospects. “If it happens again I would be out of business for sure.”
For now, Duff is just trying to stay positive and move forward.
“More than anything I just want people to know that their kids are out there doing this stuff,” he said. “People need to keep their businesses safe.”
Caleb Loehrer, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.