PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - Vendors say A&K Thrift Mall in Phenix City was recently broken into. Police arrived at the scene early Tuesday morning to investigate.
The store closed suddenly on July 18 after two and a half years of operation. Hundreds of vendors discovered the next morning that the store was closed with their items locked inside.
Look, but don't touch is what vendors and I were told today when inside the A&K Thrift Mall. Police and vendors lined the door of the store saying it had been broken into. Owner Kevin Smith showed up to help clean up the mess.
"We did have a robbery this morning. Unfortunately it throws a kink in the works and will delay us a day or two, you know, it's just a compounded issue," Smith explains.
Smith and his father-in-law escorted vendors through the store to their booths in hopes of tallying up exactly what was taken in this morning's break-in. But vendors say they just want whatever's left of their items.
"We've already been vandalized, I mean, lied to, cheated. I mean, you know, all we want is to go in and see what we got and get our stuff back," says vendor Billy Sides.
And not all vendors were completely sold on what they found once they got a look inside.
"It doesn't seem like it was too much damage to that area," adds vendor Belinda Stinson. "So, I'm just going to say I don't know. I just don't have no idea, but it don't seem like someone put a lot of force into entering."
Still, with booth contracts in hand, vendors lined up outside the door for some word on when they can expect to get their merchandise from in the now out-of-business store. Smith offered them this.
"As far as getting everyone's items from here, we are apologetic that it's taking so long, but we will get with everyone as soon as possible," Smith said. "We're trying to send out e-mails and we're also going to update our store website."
Smith tells us vendors are not allowed to take their belongings because the store is being investigated for the break-in. At least four vendors reported having items taken.
We have reached out to Phenix City police for a copy of the incident report from Tuesday morning's break-in. At this time, the investigation division says they do not yet have that report.
Smith released a statement on June 21 regarding the sudden closure. He says the store closed for financial reasons. Click here to read the full statement.