The manager of a Derry phone and game store which was robbed of more than £22,000 worth of phones at the weekend, has warned that the phones will not be able to be used by anyone they are sold on to.
Gwen Curran said the twelve staff at the CEX store on Ferryquay Street are furious at the break in which occurred in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Two masked men cut through metal bars in the premises to access the shop before making off with a stash of valuable mobile phones, some valued at more than £500.
Ms. Curran, who answered the call from the alarm company on Sunday morning, said she narrowly missed confronting the thieves herself.
“I missed the first call from the alarm company,” she said. “If I’d received it, it’s likely they would have still been there when I arrived at the shop. The alarm has gone off a few times before so when I made my way to the shop I didn’t suspect that anything was wrong.”
However as she entered the shop she realised that a number of Iphone SEs, Iphone 6 and Iphone 6 plus had been taken alongside Samsung Galaxy handsets.
She says it is her belief that the thieves, who have been caught on the shop’s CCTV, had been scoping the shop out beforehand.
“They knew exactly where to go to get the phones,” she said. “Specific phones have been taken from the glass displays and a select number of phones have been taken from the display at the front window.
“They took more than £22,000 worth of stock.
“It has been very distressing because we are a shop that is very much involved in the community. The stock that was stolen was stock that had been traded in here. We are a franchise, not a big company store. For us running the shop is not just about making money but being part of the community.”
Ms. Curran said that when she saw the CCTV footage of the robbers who wore masks and gloves she felt relieved that had not encountered them at the shop.
“The staff in here are all disgusted,” she said, “I never in a million years thought that anyone could get in here.”
Despite the break in, the shop opened for business as usual on Sunday.
The Derry manager warned that anyone who is offered a phone in suspicious circumstances, that all of the phones that were taken during the break in can be traced.
“Each phone has a unique code and we can track it,” she said. “They are completely useless to anyone else. All the iphones are fitted with the ‘find my phone’
“If the phones are bought by anyone else they simply wont work.”
She said that if anyone wants to check an item they can ring them directly at the store. She added that all security issues have now been rectified at the store.