Designer boutique may be forced to shut by burglary
The victim of a £15,000 clothes shop burglary has told how it may force him out of business.
David James Kerr was speaking after his designer store was broken into and ransacked in less than five minutes last weekend.
Thieves gained access to the east Belfast premises via a skylight and stole a selection of expensive menswear.
The father-of-three said he was unsure he could sustain the financial losses associated with the stolen stock.
"My wife Stephanie and I run the business and we are both completely devastated," he said.
"We have only been open three months and it's hard to believe that this has happened.
"We are going to wait until the end of the week before we assess the situation and decide whether we can afford to stay open or not."
Mr Kerr, who employs three people at his David James Kerr shop at Hollywood Arches, only sells two designer Italian brands - Stone Island and CP Company.
He said the only other stockist in Northern Ireland is Cruise in Belfast's Victoria Square complex.
Jackets cost £500 each, trousers and jeans retail for £130, jumpers are priced at £150-£200, and polo shirts will set shoppers back £100.
"I watched the CCTV footage and it was obvious the thieves were targeting the most expensive items," the 30-year-old said.
"The didn't get away with everything but in just four minutes they took as much as they could carry.
"They were wearing masks, gloves and boilersuits and they definitely knew their way about the shop.
"They went for specific items and they stuffed everything into two massive sacks they'd brought with them."
He added: "But it will be hard for them to get rid of the stock because it is so unique."
Mr Kerr said that his livelihood, his wife Stephanie's (25) and their children - Ryan (9), six-year-old Abbie and Georgia (3) - depended on the business.
"The shop is open today but we honestly don't know how or if we can carry on," he said.
"We've had messages of support from a lot of people in the local community and that has been comforting. They are digusted by the burglary."
The PSNI confirmed that thieves ransacked the premises after entering the premises by removing a skylight.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Strandtown on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.