Thieves destroy local photo biz In the early morning of Sunday, March 13, burglars approached Star Photo, a small, privately-owned business in Broad Ripple. The thieves “started beating the heck” out of Star Photo’s back security door, according to owner and founder Steve Short. “They just destroyed my door.” "They stole my tripod!" —Al Chidley, an analog printing technician Unable to enter the building through the security door, the robbers pried open the front door with a crow bar, and efficiently moved all of their booty to the back of the store, where their vehicle was parked.
The thieves stole a 400-pound Epson printer, canners, cutters, a hard drive filled with customers’ work and business contact information and several other pieces of equipment. They stole the store’s cash deposit. They also took a computer, several monitors and all the paper and ink from the front of the store. All in all, over $125,000 worth of equipment was stolen.
“It’s just a shame,” said lab manager Al Jenkins. “In today’s world where everything is megaplex, a little proprietorship just can’t get a break. We can’t touch the prices of the big chains because they’re buying for a thousand stores. And when something like this happens it just breaks your heart.”
Short claimed nearly $125,000 of merchandise to his insurance company, but that figure, according to Short, does little justice to the real value of the stolen equipment.
Even expensive personal items were stolen. “They stole my tripod!” said Al Chidley, an analog printing technician who works in Star Photo’s lab. When asked if he thought the insurance company would replace his tripod with a comparable version, he just laughed.
“[The robbery] destroyed the business,” Short said. “We haven’t produced a picture in three weeks. There’s minimal income. They took our passport camera. We were doing $1,000 a week just in passport photos.”
The lack of business and the financial blow that the robbery dealt Star Photo were not the store’s only problems. The store’s landlords are, according to Short, interested in renting the space out to another, more profitable business. “Now we obviously can’t make our rent payment because we don’t have any income,” Short said. “They want me out.”
Still, Short is determined to revive his business, which he has owned and operated since 1989. Short was born and raised in the Broad Ripple area, and is insistent on keeping the business there if possible. “I have to be here. My customers are pretty local,” Short said. “I’ve seen kids being born. I’ve seen them graduating school. I’ve seen kids on their 16th birthday party pictures, and I’ve seen them getting married. I’ve grown up with all the families around here. People come in and they hate to see us go because we’re part of their family.”