Owner of I Got Clothes offers $10,000 to officers who will shoot, kill burglars
Owner says reward sign helps deter break-ins at clothing store on South Side
Business was booming Wednesday afternoon at Debra Trejo's South side clothing store, I Got Clothes, as customers snatched up some last minute Halloween costumes.
Not long ago, she was worried about going out of business after a series of break-ins.
"We would have a lot of break-ins. They'd be like once a month or once every two or three months," Trejo said. "It was constant. It was a really big problem."
The crooks usually only got away with a few hundred dollars, then the thieves cut the wires to her security system.
"They had all night to take everything, so they took like $60,000 worth of merchandise and it took me like three years to replace all that without going out of business."
The burglars got very creative with their break-ins.
The first time, she said they pried open the back door. The next time, they came in through the roof and the third time, they fell through the ceiling. They also tore a hole in the siding to gain access to the store and pushed out a window air-conditioning unit.
No matter what she did, the crooks found a way in.
Then she saw a sign on another business that grabbed her attention. It read: "$10,000 reward for any officer of the law shooting and killing any person(s) who try to burglarize this location. Guaranteed by the owner."
Trejo had three of the signs printed up and placed them on the outside of her business and there hasn't been a break-in since.
"Once the signs came in, it was a big turnaround," Trejo said.
Trejo admits the strongly worded sign has been a turn off to some customers.
Customers shopping at the store Wednesday had mixed reviews.
"I think that's wrong," said Sylvia Lopez. "I don't agree with that at all."
Several customers didn't know what to make of the sign. Others loved it.
"I had a business of my own and we know how it feels to lose everything when you work so hard to get where you're at," said Loretta Ramirez, who dealt with break-ins and robberies at her own business. "I'm all for it."
As long as they keep the criminals away, Trejo is keeping the signs up.
"I didn't think it would be this much of a success," Trejo said. "I know a few officers and they think it's a pretty cool sign. I haven't had anyone say anything bad about it."
For a list of recent stories Tim Gerber has done, click here.
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