Vape shop owner stakes out burglars, stops break-in attempt
MELBOURNE, Fla. – The vigilant actions of a vape shop owner are both getting results for him and also making work easier for detectives.
At 4 a.m Tuesday, Richard Monroe, the owner of the Smoking Fish vape shop on Wickham Road, wasn't using his cigar lounge to relax: He was staking out four people who police say tried to break in.
Police said three teens and a 20-year-old wore masks and gloves when they tried to pry open the back door.
The Smoking Fish would have been the latest break-in in a recent spree of vape shop burglaries.
"Every single vape shop in town has gotten hit, so I decided about two months ago to start sleeping in my store, waiting for them," Monroe said. "The tried everything - crowbars, hammers. What a ruckus. My heart was pounding."
When Monroe heard all of the noise, he called police.
"I told them that they could catch them right now breaking in," Monroe said.
Officers then apprehended all four.
Police credit Monroe's vigilance to getting the suspects off the streets.
"I totally understand why he did what he did," said Cmdr. Sean Riordan, with Melbourne Police. "When you have a witness that is going to be eyes on and saying that right now, a crime is occurring and I'm watching it, sure, that does help us solve a crime."
"I was just glad to do it," said Monroe. "There's about seven or eight of us [vape shop vendors] that are going to be real happy, gonna sleep a little bit better during the holidays knowing that they don't have to sleep in their store like me."
Burglars stole products from Monroe's store earlier this year.
Monroe runs another Smoking Fish vape shop location at the Renninger's Flea and Farmers Market.
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