Smash and Grab Clean up and restore

Smash & Grab: It’s not just STORMS that go bump in the night

Category: Article • January 3, 2022

Search for “Smash & Grab” with your favorite search engine and prepare to be shocked!

“More than two-thirds of retailers said the pandemic increased overall risk for their organization, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2021 National Retail Security Survey, and 57 percent reported a rise in ORC (Organized Retail Crime).”


Epidemic is the word used by TheHill.Com to describe the country’s recent upsurge in this type of crime. CNN.Com included the word “gang” in many instances of describing a recent Smash & Grab organized crime spree. recently reported on research by the National Retail Federation which concluded:

“In its survey, the NRF says the average dollar loss per robbery incident has gone up to $7,594.48 in 2020. It was only $828.94 in 2019. This can be devastating for small business owners with limited inventory and minimal insurance coverage.

When you compare the data to run-of-the-mill shoplifting losses, which were $270.06 in 2019 and increased to $461.86 in 2020, a store can survive the damages. But this new wave is not sustainable even for large companies.”

And the list of businesses affected is quite varied, from Financial (ATMs), Jewelry Stores, Pharmacies like CVS / Rite Aid / Walgreens, to specialty stores selling expensive high-end merchandise, Liquor Stores, and Medical Cannabis Dispensaries.

The irony in this latest type of crime spree is that the cost is often more…MUCH more…related to the costs of cleaning up, securing and putting all the pieces back together than it is the actual replacement cost of the stolen merchandise. Several thousand dollars of looted goods compared to tens of thousands to make it look like it never happened.

Smash and Grab Restoration

“Smash and Grab” damage and restoration of commercial property

The cost to a business, any business, is much more than just the replacement cost of the stolen goods.

 Sure, there are the obvious costs:

  • Smash & Grab thieves often use hammers, bricks, prybars, even vehicles to break their way into a building and then they do additional damage in getting to the “loot” they seek.
  • There’s consumer “psychological” damage…patrons wary of being in surroundings perceived “un-safe”.
  • There’s the likely increase in business insurance rates that often comes with operating in a high-crime zone, perceived or otherwise.

No Emergency Restoration Company can prevent a Smash & Grab crime from occurring at your place of business, but we should be your very next call, after “911”.

And then there’s this…

How quickly will you be able to find an Emergency Restoration Company to board-up and secure your business and its contents to prevent further loss and put all the pieces back together, getting your doors back open as soon as possible?  How many ‘dark’ days can your business endure before having to shut down altogether? Sure, you have an inventory of goods you can use to prove what’s missing to file an insurance claim, but do you have an accurate assessment of all the smashed store fixtures and display cases? Working with a professional emergency restoration company, like Elegant Restoration before such a disaster strikes will allow you the time to document and plan for just such an unfortunate disaster we all hope never happens.

Once an unfortunate and unwelcome invasion occurs, though, the very-most important next step is securing the building envelope, assessing the structural viability, and if necessary, providing security services to prevent further unwanted intrusion. This is precisely what Elegant Restoration did immediately following a Smash & Grab at a Medical Cannabis Dispensary in Baltimore. A large box truck was ‘smashed’ right into the sidewall of the building, with thieves then running inside to ‘grab’ what they could. In the case of a federally regulated medical dispensary, ready access to product, especially after-hours, is difficult at best. Whether it’s a traditional pharmacy or a medical cannabis dispensary, these federally regulated facilities must employ strong measures to secure products.

But often to thieves this just means they must employ even more extreme measures to get to their intended target. It’s one thing to disable an alarm system and to crawl through a window or kick down a door…it’s another thing altogether to drive a large truck deliberately into and through a building to achieve their goals. And so, the damages and costs add up quickly.

In the case mentioned above, Elegant Restoration:

  • Arrived within one hour of the crime
  • Began boarding up the wall and tarping the roof
  • Made arrangements for security services to be provided
  • Worked with a building engineer and Baltimore City inspectors to verify building safety
  • Removed all debris from the site. 
  • Constructed an internal way with access for the mason to repair damages
  • All the while working directly with the building owner and shop owner

It’s troubling enough for a business owner to have to deal with an “Act of God”, as defined by insurance terms when responding to a “natural” disaster. Storms, after all, do happen. But reacting to a violent act of aggression like a Smash & Grab adds a level of personal and professional violation and distress. Having a plan and a trusted partner like Elegant Restoration already in place, ready to go to work for you within moments of when a terrifying disaster strikes will alleviate some of the stress, secure your business, and get your doors back open sooner.

Please reach out to us and get to know us better. We welcome the opportunity to get to know you and your business better too.

Article written by Bob Sansbury, Commercial Account Partner

Additional resources about this recent surge in Smash & Grab crime: