Masked intruder steals $10,000 of product from Park City Vapor Company
A masked intruder stole $10,000 worth of product from the Park City Vapor Company in the Kimball Junction area early Thursday morning during a brazen smash-and-grab that was caught on video and lasted less than a minute, according to business owner Beau Maxon.
At around 1:52 a.m., Vivint Security contacted Maxon after the break-in was detected at his shop, located at 6300 N. Sagewood Drive. Deputies with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office arrived within minutes of the initial report. However, the suspect was already gone. Video surveillance shows the masked suspect entering the store with a backpack after shattering the glass of the front door. He went directly to a JUUL display case and stole the entire inventory of the product, valued at $10,000, Maxon said.
Maxon described the vape product as tiny, discrete devices resembling USB cards. He said he is the only licensed JUUL retailer in the state of Utah.
“They are very popular, especially amongst college-aged kids,” he said. “This guy didn’t take anything else, except those devices. He didn’t take anything from the register. He just came in for those devices, took them and jumped in his car.
“My guess is he is going to try and sell them to underage individuals that would be willing to pay more than retail,” he added. “If that’s the case, then he could easily profit $15,000.”
Maxon is offering a $2,000 reward to anyone who provides credible information that leads to the arrest of the suspect. He said he hopes the monetary compensation incentivizes others to share the surveillance video on social media and turn the suspect in.
“I feel like we were really violated and I don’t appreciate it,” he said. “I think it is the right thing to do. If I don’t put a reward out, he won’t get caught and he will do it to other business owners.”
Maxon said the theft goes beyond the face value of what he stole. He said in addition to the loss of product, he will have to file an insurance claim that could increase his rates and he may lose customers.
“What’s really upsetting is it’s apparent this individual has been in this store,” he said. “It’s violating that I was stolen from, but it’s also kind of insulting that someone would come here and scope out my store.”
Park City Vapor Company opened for normal business hours Thursday morning, fewer than eight hours after the break-in. Maxon said he had been at the shop since around 2 a.m. cleaning up broken glass.
“Business will continue and it’s as if we didn’t skip a beat,” he said. “At least they broke in during non-business hours and no one was hurt. I’m confident it will sort itself out.”
Lt. Andrew Wright, with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, said investigators are checking with nearby businesses to see if video surveillance is available of the suspect’s vehicle, which appeared to be a white SUV.
Wright supported Maxon’s theory that the suspect likely had knowledge of the layout of the store and knew there would be surveillance.
“If you look at the time of entry from the time we arrived, it was within minutes,” he said. “That person was in and out with thousands of dollars’ worth of product and they wore a mask. It is pretty brazen considering the amount of lighting in the area. Short of a deputy being there, there was not a lot that could be done to prevent something like that.”
The incident is especially unfortunate, Maxon said, because of the negative connotation often associated with vaping. He said it is something he is trying to change.
“I used to work in the stock market, but got into vaping because I watched my mom quit smoking,” he said. “There is a need for this and it’s everyday people that vape: moms, fathers and professionals.”
Maxon said he put about $200,000 of his own money into the store to create a cleaner, more professional image. He said it does not look like “your average vape store because I wanted to change the perception of vaping.
“One thing that is upsetting to me about this situation is I feel like it is going to add fuel to the fire for those who don’t like this industry,” he added. “They are going to say, ‘His store is bringing crime into our community’ and that is just not the case.”
Park City Vapor Company opened its doors in mid-September.
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Park City officials are expected to present information about upcoming work on the Treasure acreage designed to guard against a wildfire, as well as a series of other City Hall projects and programs, at an open house that is scheduled next week.