Looters strike

By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia ,

3710 Hits

HEARTBROKEN: Vaelua Rudy Roebeck at his shop yesterday. He is devastated.

HEARTBROKEN: Vaelua Rudy Roebeck at his shop yesterday. He is devastated.

A businessman who had his Barber Shop saved from Saturday’s blaze was saddened to discover his shop broken into with items worth $30,000 stolen. 

Vaelua Tagaloa Rudy Roebeck, Owner of the Best Haircut shop stood in disbelief yesterday as his workers tried to clean up the broken pieces of his ten year old business. 

The store is stationed inside the old Agriculture building that stands in between the Savalalo flea market and the Development Bank of Samoa building. The business was among other businesses in the Agriculture Store building not affected by the fire. 

But Vaelua’s store did not survive the wrath of the looters.

 “I’m very disappointed,” Vaelua said shaking his head. “I would’ve been okay if the damage was caused by the fire but for them to break into my store and to see looters in here helping themselves when people are trying to save what they can is just heartbreaking. It’s sad and hard to believe.”

According to the businessman, two of his workers returned to the scene on Saturday to see if their shop was affected.

 “My worker came and found teenagers and even some old men helping themselves in the shop,” said Vaelua. 

“One had a hair clipper under his shirt and others took whatever they wanted so they were chased but had gotten away.”

Inside the store, Vaelua picked up the broken mirrors, scrap paper and rubbish that was washed into his store from the water used by the fire fighters. 

He said he had 15 Wahl brand hair clippers including new ones he had just bought from Australia, Toa Samoa jerseys, hats and rugby league uniforms he sells. 

Vaelua is an active supporter of the Toa Samoa and he sells most of the Toa Samoa products at his store with the money collected going back to the league for its development. 

“They took mirrors, hair clippers, scissors, wigs, jerseys, $2000 cash stored in a safe, hair chemicals and powders…I would estimate all of what was in here to be around $30,000. Everything is gone.”

Unfortunately just like most of the stores and stall owners at the Savalalo flea market, Vaelua has no insurance. 

The businessman said he has lodged a complaint with the police with hope to capture the culprit that broke down the glass door and stole the products. 

For ten years, Vaelua had operated the hair salon next to the market. 

Although he is sadden by what was stolen, he is more sorry about the small businesses that had their lives invested in the stores and stalls at the market.

“Its very sad because school is starting in few weeks and these stall owners depend on what they collect from the flea market,” said Vaelua. 

“I cannot imagine how it must feel to have lost everything they had invested in.”

Where to from here, Vaelua plans to repaint and restock his hair salon when he gets the money.  

As for his five employees, they will be transferred to his other hair salon next to Skippy’s while he works on his store’s renovation plan. 

The other small businesses next to Vaelua’s shop were lucky to have their shops locked up and were not broken into. 

© Samoa Observer 2016

Developed by Samoa Observer in Apia