Smoke bomb thrown through Maple Ridge storefront window

Click to play video: 'Beloved Maple Ridge tea shop vandalized'
Beloved Maple Ridge tea shop vandalized
The owners of a beloved tea shop in Maple Ridge are wondering why their business has been attacked twice in the past few months. As Travis Prasad reports, this week, someone smashed a window and set off smoke bombs – Sep 24, 2023

A Maple Ridge business owner is frustrated that her shop has been repeatedly targeted by vandals.

Taryn Stephenson said her T’s Once Upon a Tea Leaf business has been vandalized twice in the past few months.

The most recent attack took place on Thursday around 3:30 a.m. A suspect was caught on video smashing in the front window and throwing an apparent smoke bomb into the store.

“When you own a business you anticipate that maybe someone will smash and grab and that’s just kind of the part of owning a business in 2023 … but when I watched the footage and watched that plume of smoke … I just started sobbing,” Stephenson said.

“We have worked so hard and we’ve been in this community for 16 years. It hurts.”

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The smoke bomb had left a residue on all the merchandise in the store, ruining products.

“It’s everywhere. There is no way I would feel comfortable selling a product that has been covered in a chemical that I have no idea what it is,” she said.

It’s covered under insurance but she said the cleanup will close the store for at least a month.

Between the loss of business and replacing the stock while waiting for insurance — Stephenson said the short-term future of the business is “scary.”

“The initial feeling is I don’t know if we will recover from this,” she said.

The first incident is eerily similar to the second. On June 25, a suspect broke a front window and threw inside a bear mace can that had been zap-strapped to keep it spraying until empty.

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A fundraiser has been created to help support the business as it recovers.

Ridge Meadows RCMP confirmed the vandalism and said an investigation is ongoing.

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