RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A New Year’s Eve robbery has a local business owner calling for more action from police.
Scott Waters, the owner of Driply Vapes in downtown Richmond, is calling for action after his business was broken into, leaving his shelves bare. He says this wasn’t the first time.
Waters told 8News his business has been at the corner of Grace Street and Belvidere Street for the last seven years. He said business was going great and he hadn’t had any trouble with anyone until last year.
“I don’t feel safe doing business in Richmond anymore,” Waters said.
According to Waters, the trouble started in February 2022 when an employee allegedly stole $6,000 worth of lottery tickets from the store. Then, in October 2022, Waters said the store was robbed at gunpoint.
The most recent incident occurred over New Year’s Eve weekend when a suspect reportedly broke in through the front door and stole a large portion of the store’s merchandise.
The suspect reportedly tried to use a brick to break in through the front door. When that didn’t work, he kicked in the glass and crawled through the door. Once inside, the suspect moved around the store and stuffed several items in his pockets.
Waters said he doesn’t know how the value of the lost in merchandise, just that it’s going to be hard to bounce back.
“He got away with a lot,” Waters said. “He stole all of my menthol cigarettes — which is mainly what we sell in this area when it comes to cigarettes — he still all of my disposable vapes, rolling papers, he got away with a lot of stuff.”
After the first incident in February 2022, Waters said he stepped up security — installing an electromagnetic lock on the front door. Now, he says he’s not sure if it’s worth it anymore.
“At this point, I mean, I don’t really know if it’s worth it to invest more in security,” he said. “After the second robbery, we switched up the store layout to be a little bit more secure but it didn’t really stop anyone.”
Waters says he is now thinking about leaving the business altogether. When his lease is up, he says he plans on moving out of the city.
“I think really my only message is to just be safe,” he said. “It’s really scary that we have to move around the city and not feel safe.”