Flower Patch robbed twice in two days

Pieces of plywood cover a shattered window pane at The Flower Patch on LaSalle Street in Ville Platte Wednesday. The shop was broken into and robbed twice in two days this past week. (Gazette photo by Raymond Partsch III)

By: RAYMOND PARTSCH III
Managing Editor

The Flower Patch in downtown Ville Platte was robbed in the early hours of Wednesday, and then again on Thursday morning.
According to owner Alana McClaskey, someone on Wednesday took a flat piece of cinder block and attempted to first smash one of the two front glass doors of the flower shop located on LaSalle Street. After that failed, the unknown robber then successfully smashed a large pane window in the front of the store and entered the establishment, where he or she cleared out the cash register and petty cash for a total of nearly $900.
McClaskey believes that the robber must have seen her in the shop the night before.
“I came in a little before midnight to fill the register and fill the petty cash for the following day,” McClaskey said. “He must have saw me in here from the outside and waited for me to leave.”
Apparently after looting the register and petty cash, the unknown robber then tried to take something else -- an object he or she believed to be valuable.
“We have a large black plastic container that was underneath the counter,” McClaskey said. “He must have thought it was another safe or cash box but it is really for pest control. We don’t think he realized that until after he got out of the store because we found it outside.”
Flower Patch employee Hannah Douget was the first at the store on Wednesday morning, and promptly called fellow employee Linda O’Connor and McClaskey.
The Ville Platte Police Department arrived at the store shortly after, and cleared the scene before performing their investigation which included collecting blood samples.
Then the business was broken into and robbed a second time sometime after 6 a.m. on Thursday. The unknown robber broke one of the other large window panes and removed the rolled coins that had been left in the register. The unknown robber took an estimated $200 in coins.
“They decided to get the rest of the cash -- the wrapped coins and stuff that they had left before,” O’Connor said. “They took all the change but 38 cents. The cops passed 6:12 and 6:20 and it wasn’t broken into so it must have happened after that.”
VPPD has no suspects at this time but the investigation remains ongoing.
In the meantime, McClaskey will be taking precautionary measures for her store and her employees.
“I am not going to let my employees be up here by themselves ever again,” McClaskey stated. “My children are often here with me.”
Despite the robbery, The Flower Patch remained opened on Wednesday as the door was quickly replaced and plywood was put in place of the broken window.
McClaskey is steadfast in keeping her business open and thriving but she is concerned by not only the first robbery her shop has had in five-plus years, but also by other break-ins that have occurred in Ville Platte and the rest of the parish in recent months.
“This is a big concern for me,” McClaskey said. “There are so many small businesses in this town and yet there seems to have been a rash of break-ins in the last six months. The whole reason I moved back home is because it is a close knit and safe community but being robbed like this is concerning.”

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