By Carlena Knight
The country’s leading supplier of school uniforms in the country, Happy Kids, was the latest business to have fallen victim to thieves.
Elie Saoud, manager and owner of Happy Kids clothing store, arrived at his secondary branch on lower Nevis Street yesterday, only to find that his business had been broken into and a number of items stolen, to include school bags, school uniforms and the uniform vouchers used in the government’s School Uniform Grant Programme (SUGP).
When Observer media arrived on the scene and spoke with the well-known businessman, he seemed quite shocked by the events that had occurred earlier.
“Well, I secured my property yesterday and I left about 6 pm yesterday and I went home. This morning I came about 8 o’clock to deliver some goods and prepare for Friday and, unfortunately, the minute I get inside the store I realised everything is on the floor, a lot of things mixed up and I realised it was a break-in. I ran inside the office and saw that in here was ransacked, the cash register had been broken into, a lot of things thrown around. We discovered the thief dug a hole in a wall in the bathroom and made their way into the business that way, disconnected the DVR system and took up a lot of vouchers that we have been collecting since last Tuesday,” Saoud said.
He explained that it was still too early to calculate the monetary loss to the company, but nevertheless is pleading with vendors to remain vigilant and the public on a whole to remain on guard.
“I want to take the opportunity to appeal to all the vendors who accept vouchers from the public please, please, practice we are supposed to practice, every person should show a picture ID for every voucher to make sure that voucher was not going out to anybody that used one that was stolen from Happy Kids. I appreciate any assistance and any information anyone can give to the police in order to recover some of those items. We are still jut shocked with what’s going on. That’s the last thing I expected, someone to break a wall to go in,” he added.
The impact of the robbery is expected to affect the business in some way and be felt by many parents who depend on the store to provide uniforms. In a previous interview, Saoud had explained that this year Happy Kids had so far been unable to provide uniforms in a timely manner due to non-payment by the government for previous vouchers, coupled with a dearth in sales over the past two years caused by the pandemic.
Parents were in fact already lining up outside to collect their children’s uniforms on Friday morning in preparation for the new school year which opens on September 6th.