GOSHEN — Thieves have struck a second fireworks store in Elkhart County.
The Freebies Fireworks location at 2611 Peddler’s Village Road was burglarized sometime Tuesday night or early Wednesday and a large amount of fireworks was stolen, according to Elizabeth Coquillard, who, along with her husband, George, operate the store.
A similar theft occurred in Elkhart at Doug’s Discount Fireworks store at 1919 Cassopolis St. during the overnight hours of June 15 and June 16, according to Elkhart police. The loss in that theft amounted to about $10,000, according to the owner, who was quoted in local media reports.
In the Goshen burglary, police said George Coquillard reported about 200 fireworks items were taken.
Elizabeth said Thursday of their loss, “It would be comparative to the other store that was robbed.”
The Coquillards are independent contractors with Freebies Fireworks, so the loss will come out of their earnings, Elizabeth said.
Goshen police spokesperson Tina Kingsbury said investigators do not know at this time if the burglaries are related.
Elizabeth said the taking of videos and pictures are now banned in the store because they believe the thieves planned the Goshen burglary.
“They came in and had a plan when they came in through the back. They took everything of high value and did not touch our dollar stuff,” she said.
She believes a box truck was used by the thieves as that is the only way they could have hauled away the volume of products they stole.
In the wake of the theft, they have increased their security.
“It is just what we have to do to make sure our product is here for the customers,” she said.
The burglary is a setback for their effort at entrepreneurship, Elizabeth said.
“It is really just disheartening,” she said. “We are trying to run a business and we put a lot of time, money and energy into it to just have it disappear in the middle of the night. It is just really sad.”