CONCORD, CA (Jan. 9, 2023) — The new year has started like the old one concluded with more vandalism to Clayton Valley Dance Academy’s entry way and other neighboring tenants of the Clayton Valley Shopping Center along Ygnacio Valley Road.
This time, however, an arrest was made of a suspect following the January 3 incident who apparently was no stranger to local officials.
The arrest is little comfort to Sarah Brinkman whose dance studio, already reeling from about $50,000 in repairs to two main windows and thefts of electronics following the pre-Christmas burglaries, is now having to fork out an additional $1,200 to repair a the latest damage to the studio.
“The business is doing ok, we are slowly recovering from the pandemic struggles,” she said, which luckily had nothing taken this time around. “Parents are frustrated with the property management (Regency Centers) lack of security.”
According to the Jacksonville-based Regency Centers, a new security company for the shopping center started January 1, and the plan is to start providing more coverage in the near future.
Arrests for the December 17, 2022, burglaries of Clayton Valley Dance Academy and Cali Kid Corals, a high-end coral and aquarium shop, still elude local law enforcement.
“This guy has done it before so it was good the Concord police got there as fast as they did,” said Ben Shapiro whose Cali Kid Corals was fortunately spared additional problems this time around.
Ironically in the latest string of vandalism, it was a former site in the shopping center that his business once occupied that got hit.
Prior to Christmas, owners of the Concord dance studio and high-end coral shop were left to sweep up glass from thousands of dollars in damage to their operations when both units of the shopping center were entered by at least one suspect. Both business owners continue to wrestle with why it happened in the first place.
“Think long and hard. Karma is real,” said Shapiro of advice to the culprits following the December incidents. “What goes around comes around.”
For the most part his losses were covered by insurance. More upsetting to Shapiro was the hardship Brinkman suffered, citing tablets used by the kids and the presents under the Christmas tree that were taken.
“That was my biggest concern,” Shapiro said, who lauded the community’s support in the wake of the duo break ins.
Along with damage to the door and a window, a pair of aquarium lights valued at $1,600 and $800 in cash were taken.
One might think the lamps could be used for growing marijuana. But Shapiro explained they are pretty specific for coral growth
Next door Brinkman too is still left wondering why someone would do something like this when all it does is hurt kids.
“They feel sad that someone would take advantage of place that is a space for fun,” said Brinkman. “It was very unsettling.”
Between the thefts of electronics and damage to two main windows, Brinkman put her losses at about $50,000. Just the items taken are covered by insurance.
What if anything would she say to the person responsible?
“Why us. What were you trying to accomplish,” said Brinkman. “Why a dance studio. It just doesn’t make sense.”
As the dance academy worked to move forward, the community’s incredible support has included a Go Fund Me page under the heading “Clayton Valley Dance Academy Repairs” to windows. As of January 8, nearly $5,700 had been raised toward a goal of $12,000 for them.
Regency Centers will help Dance Studio with vandalism costs, according to Regency Centers spokesman, Eric Davidson. “We’ve spoken with her and committed to helping where we can,” Davidson told the Pioneer. “There are just a few things the owner is working through before decisions can be reached on next steps.”
Concord Police Department continues to investigate both December burglaries including if the same person is responsible for both incidents.
Lieutenant Sean Donnelly noted the video footage was poor.
“We are not able to provide a description for the suspect in the dance studio burglary. As for the burglary to the aquatic store, it appears to be a black male wearing a black sweater,” he said.
As for the latest early January incident at the shopping center, Donnelly noted it seems to be an unrelated incident.
“Vandalism where a local transient broke the window while having some “episode.” So presumably it was just a coincidence that it was the dance studio again,” he said of the apparent random acts that also involved other windows in the area.