BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Apricot Lane Boutique on the Elmwood strip, between Potomac and Bird Avenues, celebrated one year in business, just a couple of weeks ago. But, an incident Sunday put the store owner out hundreds of dollars.
Kristina Atti spent years dreaming of the day she could open her own boutique.
That dream came true one year ago. Now, she spends her days talking with customers, straightening clothing racks, and growing her Elmwood Avenue business.
On Sunday, that happiness was turned upside down when a thief took aim at her store, making off with hundreds of dollars in merchandise.
“It just hurts when something like that happens. It just feels violating in a weird way,” Atti said.
“She kind of just walked around the store and just picked stuff up,” Atti added. “I asked her if I could start her a fitting room like I do for every customer that walks in here, she declined that. And obviously, later on, that was so I didn’t know what she had, so when she went into the dressing room she could put all the stuff underneath her clothes, leave me all the tags and walk out.”
Atti told News 4 the woman waited until she was taking care of other customers to bolt out the door with $300 worth of stolen merchandise. She called Buffalo Police, but they didn’t respond until an hour and a half after the shop closed.
“A lot of small business owners I know, we man our stores alone a lot and we need to know that someone’s there for us if something’s going to happen,” said Atti.
Last month, thieves made off with Tipico Coffee Roasters cash register down the street from Apricot Lane. And on Niagara Street, several businesses have been targeted by a suspected serial burglar.
“At the end of the day, I’d rather lose a dress and a tank top over a human,” Atti said. “So, as long as nobody’s getting hurt in this scenario that makes me happy.”
Officers were at Apricot Lane taking a report when News 4 arrived to interview Atti.
She said the thief hasn’t been caught, but Buffalo Police have had run-ins with her in the past.
Atti just wants these thieves to leave small businesses alone.
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Patrick Ryan is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.