No suspects identified in two break-ins at Salem small businesses

Massage therapists were working in the back of Indigo Wellness Center near downtown Salem around 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 27, when two people broke open the locked front door.

Surveillance video at the chiropractic office showed the visitors grab two large citrine and amethyst crystal geodes and scurry out. 

Minutes later, a massage therapist can be seen walking through the lobby, glancing at the corner where the thieves had just snagged the crystals. “She had no idea really that something had happened,” said owner Zohra Campbell. 

It was the first of two break-ins reported to police within hours at small businesses in Salem. No arrests have been made in either incident.

Surveillance video shows two people breaking into Indigo Wellness Center on Feb. 27 and stealing two large crystal geodes.

An emergency call log shows the Salem Police Department responded to a report of a burglary at Indigo about an hour and ten minutes after the thieves left.

No one was at Indigo’s front desk when the break-in occurred. Campbell said when the receptionist leaves for the day, they lock the door. 

She said the fact that the break-in happened while massage therapists were still at work has made them feel vulnerable.

“They were bold,” she said, of the thieves. “They came in, and they knew exactly what they wanted.”

Campbell was out of the country when she got the call from her employees. They estimate the crystals cost around $8,000.

A crowbar used to break into the office also severely damaged the door and frame, the business said in a Facebook post.

“We’re just small business people. I mean, it’s not like (a) big corporation where there’s lots of money to pay for all this kind of stuff,” Campbell said. “This definitely eats into the bottom line and disrupts our ability to serve our clients.”

Just over nine hours after the Indigo break-in, two people approached RiverCity Rock Star Academy on Southeast 19th Street around 3:45 a.m. The music store is located nearly three miles south of the chiropractic office.

Surveillance video shows them trying and failing to force open a door to the academy with an object for around 20 seconds. Then one of them steps back, smashes the glass door with the object and paws through the shattered pieces that are left. 

A thief smashes a glass door at RiverCity Rock Star Academy on Feb. 28 (RiverCity Rock Star Academy surveillance video)

They took ​four guitars, a trombone and a flute, along with a cash box, the school wrote in a Facebook post.

The losses and damages total around $6,000, according to manager Elizabeth Brock.

Brock said the academy had previously installed a security system. 

“That’s probably why they were only in the building for a minute or two, because they broke in, the alarm went off and they left,” she said. “There wasn’t really much we could do to prevent them breaking through the door.”

She said the building has been vandalized in the past, and they had to start parking their company car at a storage facility after someone tried to break into it in August.

The recent break-in also comes about a year and a half after an electrical fire damaged the school’s building in September 2021. 

“It’s really just a bummer for our business to have another loss,” Brock said.

RiverCity Rock Star Academy opened in 2015. In addition to its full store, it offers classes, workshops and performance programs for kids, teens and adults. 

“This is a business that has really impacted my life,” Brock said. “My child goes here, and it’s been a really good thing for our whole family as well. And it really hurts when somebody wants to do harm to a small business in this community that is so impactful to kids here, adults here, everybody that’s kind of involved.”

After seeing the academy’s Facebook post with photos of the thieves, Campbell said she believed they were the same people who broke into her office.

Emergency call records show Salem police received a report of a burglary at the academy around 4:24 a.m. and arrived eight minutes later.

Department spokeswoman Angela Hedrick told Salem Reporter that the suspects were not identifiable in videos of either of the break-ins.

“Lacking strong leads, the cases were not assigned to a detective to further investigate. Given our staffing resources, there is a need to prioritize the investigative workload and insufficient leads is one such factor,” she said in an email Thursday.

(RiverCity Rock Star Academy surveillance video)

Hedrick said the department did arrest a suspect Thursday morning in a burglary reported on Monday, March 6 at Salem Academy, a Christian school on Northeast Lancaster Drive.

Musical instruments were also stolen in that break-in, Hedrick said. 

The school’s security footage showed the suspect and his vehicle, which a patrol officer spotted around 5 a.m. Tuesday.

“When the driver was contacted, it was the suspect and the stolen items were in plain view in the vehicle,” Hedrick said. “In this incident, the video provided some solid investigative leads.”

Contact reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian: [email protected] or 503-929-3053.

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Ardeshir Tabrizian has covered criminal justice and housing for Salem Reporter since September 2021. As an Oregon native, his award-winning watchdog journalism has traversed the state. He has done reporting for The Oregonian, Eugene Weekly and Malheur Enterprise.