Smash-and-grab burglars hit Chatham boutique days before grand opening

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The dreams of two sisters have been shattered after a boutique they were planning to open in the city's Chatham neighborhood was burglarized, police said.

The owners of Lure Chaussures say the smash-and-grab robbers targeted their boutique just two days before the store's grand opening.

"When I came in and looked around I was like oh, everything is gone," said Contessa Houston, Lure Chaussures co-owner.

According to police, the thieves broke into the business around 12:30 a.m. Thursday. It's around that time, Houston says, that she got a call from ADT alerting her there was a problem.

She then called her sister with the bad news. They arrived to find a busted front door and broken glass.

Houston says it took burglars just two minutes to steal some clothing, but mostly watches, jewelry, bags and other accessories worth thousands of dollars.

"Whatever you see that's left that's on the floor - of course they're not going to take one shoe because we only put one on display - but anything else that they could grab, they grabbed it," said Whitney Houston, Lure Chaussures co-owner.

Investigators are looking at security camera video for any leads into the theft of the store, which the women began setting up in March. They put up $15,000 of their own money from the paychecks they earn at their other jobs.

Born and raised in Chicago's Englewood and Roseland neighborhoods, the sisters say they are questioning the decision to put their store in the Chatham location on the South Side in an effort to give back to the community.

"If it was left up to me, I would pack all of this up, stay online, find something else. But I know what this means to her," Whitney said.

Now, all they can do is board up, clean up and hope for the best as they vow not to give up on their dream.

"I will not be defeated, I will not let it defeat me," Contessa said.

The owners say that because the store's insurance does not actually kick in until Saturday - the store's would-be grand opening - they will now have to absorb the thousands of dollars of lost merchandise and repairs. They have set up a GoFundMe.com page to help fundraise.

Police are continuing to investigate but have no suspects in custody.
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