A local business was burglarized over the weekend — losing approximately $50,000 worth of merchandise. On Sunday at approximately 12:30 p.m. San Luis Obispo law enforcement were notified of a break-in at Shoesurfing.com’s business address on the 3500 block of Sueldo Road in San Luis Obispo.
Lieutenant Bill Proll of the San Luis Obispo Police Department (SLOPD) said an employee of Shoesurfing.com made the call to authorities before alerting management of the break-in.
Shoesurfing.com owner Kevin Zurich said he was surprised to receive the message that his business had been burglarized.
“I had no idea — I had a message when I got out of church on Sunday to come to the warehouse,” Zunich said. “Once I arrived, there were police officers waiting for me.”
An early estimate said 450 pairs of UGG boots were stolen from the business’s warehouse, but Zunich said the loss could be worse than originally expected.
“The thieves broke our 5 by 7 window in the front of the store and literally wiped out the entire showroom,” Zurich said.
In order to transport the stolen merchandise, Proll said the thieves may have used a van stolen that day from Pacific Coast Kitchen and Bath, another local business.
“Property left at the scene was identified to be that of Pacific Coast Kitchen and Bath,” Proll said. “So our officers went to the business to investigate and it was then discovered that a van was missing. That was around 2:30 p.m.”
Employees of Pacific Coast Kitchen and Bath said they were shocked to hear news of the theft.
“Neighboring businesses have had problems with vandalism before, but nothing like this has ever happened,” said Pacific Coast Kitchen and Bath employee, Kevin, who declined to use his last name.
While there is no known connection between Shoesurfing.com and Pacific Coast Kitchen and Bath, Proll said the pattern of the burglary is not unique.
“We’ve had at least one similar break-in in the past couple of weeks,” Proll said. “A vehicle was stolen from one business, and then used to rob another. What’s different about that crime, however, is that the van was returned to its owners. In this case, the van as well as the merchandise are still missing.”
Pat Moore of Acroplois Lighting, a neighboring store near the Shoesurfing.com warehouse, said it sounds like the burglary was pre-planned, but does not believe the attack will be duplicated with his business.
“I’m not too worried about Acropolis — everything we have would need to be boxed so that it didn’t break,” Moore said. “And, for the burglars to steal that many pairs of shoes … it seems like the attack was (planned).”
Planned or not, it is hopeful the stolen items will be returned: The police department has put a nationwide alert out for the stolen license plates, Proll said.
Zunich also hopes for the retrieval of merchandise, and said he is lucky to have so many good friends.
“I’ve received a lot of phone calls from people — everyone is going to be looking out for unusually low prices or out-of-the-ordinary sales on e-bay and craigslist, and also at the swap meet,” Zunich said. “We tag almost all of our boxes with our logo — with any luck consumers will notice that and alert us if they find anything.”
Shoesurfing.com has been in business in San Luis Obispo for more than 35 years and has never had a problem of this magnitude before.
In an effort to make back some of the money lost in the burglary, Shoesurfing.com will host a sales event on Saturday, March 12 from 9:30 a.m to 6 p.m.
“We would love it if people came out to support us in the wake of last weekend’s events,” Zunich said. “In this economy, a loss like we encountered could be deadly. We are working hard to meet our customer needs and we hope they see and appreciate that.”
In the meantime, the hunt for the stolen products will continue. Both businesses will remain open, and are hopeful individuals will come forward with any information they have about the burglary. Information pertinent to this investigation can be shared with SLOPD by calling (805) 781-7317.