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Immigrant merchants consider closing doors after electronics store is burglarized twice overnight

Two burglaries in less than four hours early Monday – following two others earlier this year at the same Grant Street business – may force a pair of immigrant merchants to close the doors of their electronics shop for good.

About 45 phones were taken during the Monday burglaries, said Aung Kaung Myat and Mustafa Abdo, who estimated the loss at between $8,000 and $10,000.

Monday’s first burglary was reported between 12:30 a.m. and 1 a.m. and was recorded on the store’s surveillance camera, according to Abdo. The owners responded to the scene along with Buffalo police, said Myat.

“Somebody else came back between 4:19 to 4:26 a.m.,” Myat said. “It was a different person who cleared out the second showcase. He took his time and turned over cases, file cabinets. The first person grabbed the phones and left. The second one smashed everything he could and dumped all the contents on the floor.”

In the first incident, entry was made by smashing the front glass door and breaking the metal security gate that covered it, said Abdo, who believed the second burglar was slight of build and managed to crawl into the store under the damaged gate.

“All the inventory, all the money – they took everything – and flipped over every case in the shop and tried to pry the gate off,” said Abdo.

The store also was broken into on July 4, when $15,000 in merchandise was taken, and in February.

Immigrant merchants increasingly have become targets of credit card fraud, burglaries and robberies, both at work and at home.

Late in 2014, up to 50 immigrant homes were burglarized, with thousands of dollars in savings lost.

It could not be determined Monday whether arrests were made in any of the break-ins.

Abdo, who is from Somalia, and Myat, who is from Burma, attended a crime-prevention seminar shortly after they opened their shop in June 2013.

Now Myat is not sure if he will stay in business.

“I can’t tell you if I’m staying or not,” he said Monday afternoon. “We will think about it.”