By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
AN American businessman who lives in the Bahamas yesterday said he is contemplating leaving the country after his business was robbed of a “substantial” amount of money, jewellery and electronic items on Monday morning.
Sandy Schaeffer, former owner of the Robin Hood store and now partner in the Everything Must Go Store on Prince Charles Drive, told The Tribune that on Monday, two thieves entered his office at Everything Must Go and removed a safe containing an unspecified amount of funds. Mr Schaeffer said the thieves also stole jewellery, TVs and other electronic goods.
However, Mr Schaeffer declined to specify the amount of money stolen for fear he would become an “additional target for anybody else.”
This marks the second time in four months Mr Schaeffer has been the victim of criminal activity. In April, this newspaper reported Mr Schaeffer’s account of being held up and robbed at gunpoint in “broad daylight” at JFK Drive’s Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) branch.
“This place has become the Wild, Wild West,” Mr Schaeffer said yesterday. “And there’s a lot of commentary about things that have really very little to do with our lives. It’s like having a group of people arguing over how to arrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. The boat’s going down with everybody on it. And unfortunately here we see a deterioration of the quality of life.”
He added: “This is the third major offence that I’ve experienced personally just this year and this was a substantial loss for us. We average about 25,000 customers a month and we’re only open 12 days a month. That means we have over 2,000 people a day coming into our store. And we’re selling things at prices that nobody on the island can match. We’re helping people. We’re not getting rich doing it.
“But man alive, when does it ever start to come down to ‘I’ve had enough?’ Because believe me, this last one that happened (Monday), gave me that moment of pause to say, is it worth it? Just sell everything and leave. Start again. Go back to the US where it’s infinitely more safe.
“We have a higher per capita murder rate than New York City does, than a lot of major cities in the US do. And nobody seems to be getting it.
“We all say it’s a problem, but who speaks up to do something about it?”
According to Mr Schaeffer, he and his son typically make night deposits through the security company that he engaged to provide 24/7 surveillance at Everything Must Go.
He said that on Saturday night he and his son realised that they didn’t have the deposit book from the bank that they use. As a result, he said he called the security company and told them that they would not be making any night deposits for that day and would instead do it on Monday.
Mr Schaefer said he went back to the office on Sunday morning, where he claimed he remained for four hours without incident.
“Everything was fine, nothing had been touched,” he said.
However, at 5.13am Monday, Mr Schaefer said he received a call from a police superintendent indicating that a safe had been taken out of the building.
He said a review of the surveillance videos showed how the safe, which he said weighs between 600 and 700lbs, was rolled down the steps from his office, where it was carried out of the building and placed into a waiting car.
He said the thieves’ faces could not be seen, as they wore masks and hats to hide their identity.
However, Mr Schaefer claimed that someone has been arrested in connection with the matter. The business owner believes that someone with intimate knowledge of his operations carried out the robbery.
In April, Mr Schaeffer said that while heading to make a valued added tax (VAT) payment at a local bank, a young man in a black hooded jacket and dark sunglasses stuck an “automatic weapon” in the back of his neck, robbed him of his briefcase, then fled in a vehicle.
Prior to that, Mr Schaeffer said his security guard at Everything Must Go was “bound and gagged” by three armed robbers. They told the bound security officer that they were waiting for Mr Schaeffer’s two sons to arrive to open the store, he said.
At the time, Mr Schaeffer condemned the government for failing to implement stronger initiatives and methods to counteract and mitigate crime in the country.