Business next to police station not safe from crime

Jim Day
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Naji Itani is amazed that a person would break the locks on one of the vending machines at his car wash to steal cash with the business being located right next to the Charlottetown Police station.

Charlottetown car wash and laundromat hit twice in one year

Naji Itani can only shake his head in disbelief at the audacity of the crimes committed against him.

Itani chose to move from Lebanon to P.E.I. in 2009 to enjoy a safe and hopefully prosperous life.

In May 2011, he purchased Fluff ‘n Fold Laundromat and Car Wash on Eden Street in Charlottetown. He felt the business, which has been operating since the 1960s, would provide well for his family of five.

To date, it has.

However, a couple of incidents have unnerved and upset Itani.

Last winter, a person or persons broke into his laundromat. Doors were broken and a candy machine smashed. Repairs cost about $2,000 and the culprit has not been caught.

Itani put in video surveillance at a cost of roughly $2,500. So the crime, in effect, cost Itani in the neighbourhood of $4,500.

Sunday night, his business was hit again.

The crime was caught on video, which he showed to The Guardian.

A man is seen getting out of his vehicle and cutting two locks from a vending machine outside the car wash, then taking the cash drawer from the machine.

Itani is amazed by the boldness of the crime.

First, signs warn would-be thieves that surveillance cameras monitor the property. But Itani believes a far greater deterrence should be the building that backs right up against his own: the Charlottetown Police station.

The crime was committed at the risk of being caught red handed by an officer pulling in or out of the station just a stone’s throw away from the Fluff ‘n Fold.

“It should be the safest place in Charlottetown,’’ says Itani.

However, Charlottetown Police Deputy Chief Gary McGuigan notes that the video clearly shows the thief casing out the property to ensure no one, including police, are around to see him.

“Yes we are (just) a block away from that business but having said that the officers are in and out of the station all night,’’ says McGuigan. “If these people are casing a business, they know if there are police cars in the area.’’

Now Itani is looking at options to further improve the security of the business, perhaps upgrading the video surveillance system.

“I try to make the business good and give good service,’’ he adds.

Organizations: Charlottetown Police

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Lebanon, P.E.I. Eden Street

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Recent comments

  • Mel
    January 09, 2014 - 11:37

    If you know your history on crime you will know that being next door to a police station is not necessarily good insurance. Example: John Dillinger the famous American bank robber of the 1920's got their weapons by holding up the local police station. This happened on at least two occasions where the gang went to the police station, locked the police up in the cells and took all the guns, etc that were there. If the police station itself is not safe, being next door probably is not much in the way of insurance. Funny but true story.

  • David
    January 09, 2014 - 11:35

    Says more about the police then anything. Maybe if they were more interested in looking at the businesses when they were one patrol they would see someone casing the joint. yet another example of how the City is incapable or running the city and protecting it's citizens.