Empty shoe boxes, bare clothing racks and a handful of single shoes are all that's left in the aftermath of a burglary Tuesday at a new Rock Hill store started by a Winthrop University student.
Jordan Landrum, 23, and business partner Fernando Soto opened Legitz Clothing and Apparel in a storefront on Cherry Road on June 12 by pre-paying four months of rent and stocking the store with more than $10,000 in merchandise they purchased.
"It was a lot of hard work," said Landrum, a marketing major who expects to graduate in December.
"We started out with two regular, folding tables with merchandise on them. We built a countertop. We're building a dressing room."
The York County Sheriff's Office is investigating what appears to be a three-hour burglary Tuesday where unknown suspects punched holes in the back of an adjacent warehouse and then climbed into the clothing store, Landrum said.
"There were sales price tags all through the ceiling," he said. "They were grabbing what they could each trip."
Price tags lined the ground between the store and a nearby hotel, according to a Sheriff's Office report. Surveillance video from a neighboring hotel captured what appeared to be the burglary suspects parked in its lot between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. Tuesday. Descriptions of the suspects were not immediately available.
About $5,000 in shoes and about the same amount in clothes was stolen, Landrum said. Among the stolen shoes were more than 80 pairs of Nikes. Electronics and $500 cash were also taken, the report states. Women's shoes, however, were among the less than $500 in merchandise left in the store, he said.
Landrum, a Spartanburg native, said he is not giving up on his dream despite the early Tuesday morning break-in to the urban clothing store.
"We're not going to let this keep us from the store," he said. "We just have to beef up security. We'll be open again in a week."
The store, near the intersection of Interstate 77 and Cherry Road, was attracting about 100 customers a week, Soto said. Some customers bought merchandise, some said they would come back and others were interested in special orders in other sizes and colors, he said.
"We were just starting to develop a customer base," Soto said. "We wanted to give the community what it needed: good shoes, good clothes at good prices."
Landrum said he started selling items from his apartment and outside storefronts from his car.
"It was a progression. Opening a store was the next logical step," he said. "I moved up to somewhere people could find me, not just catch me riding around. Where I don't have to risk myself going out, risk getting robbed for two, three pairs of shoes.
The store's owners said they were specifically targeted but are not sure who is responsible for stealing most of their merchandise.
"We sold one T-shirt that says 'success has enemies,' that rang true today," Landrum said. "I'd die to get my hands on another one of those shirts, just to wear it... We have legitimate, high quality stuff. No bootlegs, no replicas. We're trying to do it the right way."