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Shop owner needs lift after shoplifting



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A shoplifter robbed Christina Calka’s boutique of $1,500 in jewelry. Photo by Phil Custodio (click for larger version)
October 19, 2011 - Downtown business owner Christina Calka felt something wrong when dealing with a customer, Oct. 11.

"Two of my displays were off, with items missing – I thought maybe I put them down somewhere else," said Calka, owner of Village Fashion Boutique, 6 N.Main Street

She hadn't – the customer took them and other jewelry items worth about $1,500.

"It's very disheartening," Calka said. "It's a shame. I just feel very violated."

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She described the suspect as a woman in her mid 20s, Asian, long, dark hair, about 5-feet-2-inches, 110 pounds, well dressed, and polite with no accent.

She came into the store at about 4 p.m., looking at jewelry and asking to use a dressing room.

"She asked for a different size and I got it for her. She asked questions about the Brighton products," Calka said.

When she noticed jewelry missing, she checked around the store but didn't find it. When the customer went to leave, she asked to look into her bags, as per store policy.

"We have a policy of checking all packages," she said. "She refused, saying they were her personal belongings. I said I was sorry but I needed to enforce the rule, and we argued back and forth."

Calka said she was calling police and the women ran out the door. Neighbors heard Calka yell and tried to stop her but she wouldn't.

Witnesses saw the suspect run across the street to the alley next to Clarkston Mills, then back to where her car was parked near the boutique.

"She went in a big circle," Calka said.

She drove off in a dark gray, older-model Buick.

Calka reported the incident to deputies and notified Brighton, which told her other stores had also been robbed.

Calka plans to increase security for her store.

"I love the community – everyone has been very supportive," she said. "But we're very trusting – everyone gives people the benefit of the doubt. This is a lesson for everyone about prevention and knowing what your rights are."

Calka will host a Lift Your Spirits Party, Saturday, Oct. 29, with refreshments and raffle. Prizes include full jewelry collections, with neckless, bracelet, earrings, wallet, and other items, worth about $200.

Raffle tickets, which are $5, are also good for 10 percent off store merchandise excluding Brighton. Drawing will be at about 3-4 p.m.

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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