PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A local dance store, barely making ends meet because of COVID-19 is hit with yet another blow.

Someone broke into their store on the day before Thanksgiving, stealing money right out of their cash register along with taking hundreds of pieces of merchandise they had ordered in anticipation for holiday shoppers.

This year has been full of surprises for small business owner Nathalie Velasquez of Nathalie and Co. dancewear store located off 19th Ave and loop 101.

“Actually I was in denial to be honest,” said Velasquez.

The burglar apparently came in through the back door prying it open with a crowbar.

“I think I went into full panic probably four or five times, also what goes through your head is that your store has been violated a little bit,” said Velasquez.

From the pandemic, to furloughs, to now having her store burglarized the eve before thanksgiving. She says they can’t withstand any more hits.

Velasquez shared with AZ Family the moments right after she was alerted by her security system of someone inside the locked-store around 10 p.m. Tuesday.

“It’s hard, it’s been hard, guys. Covid has been really hard and this is the cherry on top,” said Velasquez.

The burglar stole nearly $500 along with thousands worth of high-end dance and swim wear.

“When you have a part that is missing of another piece to create an ensemble, you can’t get the whole picture,” said Velasquez.

Even the tutus were taken.

“They grabbed everything, even the hangers are all gone. We just know because it was all messed up, you can see our POS system is all broken now, they went to the back, ransacked that and took all the cash,” said Velasquez.

The thief left them without a cash register, during what was supposed to be their make or break holiday shopping weekend.

“Luckily we can use our cell phones thank God,” said Velasquez.

No other shops in the area were targeted.

In the meantime, Velasquez is busy trying to restock her store before this weekend but obviously that’s not easy because a lot of places are closed, if you’ll to help, click on this link.

 

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