The chair in That 50’s Barber Shop is empty today.
Dave Lawrence arrived at his shop Wednesday morning, Feb. 5, to find it had been broken into and his barbering tools were gone along with many of his personal collectible items he displays in the shop.
“I came to work today and my shop was broken into,” Lawrence said. “It’s unfortunate. They had a key apparently and that’s even more concerning, I feel, for all of the businesses here in the building … all my tools are gone, my clippers, my scissors. My scissors I’ve had for 19 years and a lot of my collectibles that I have are all gone.”
Lawrence broke down as he described the scissors his grandmother had given him when he started barbering school.
The barbering tools are valued at about $1,500, but Lawrence does not have replacements and he can’t work and earn a living without them.
“The police came and they dusted for prints, but who knows what they’re going to find,” Lawrence said, as his wife, Kim, tried to comfort him.
Lawrence, who has operated the shop from its Victoria Crescent location for 13 years, has previously been a victim of burglary. In 2017, back packs and school supplies, donated for Fresh Start – a community charity drive Lawrence spearheads to help underprivileged children return to school each year with school supplies and haircuts – were stolen when a storage unit was broken into.
Lawrence said he’s concerned and not just for his business. He fears other businesses around him will also be broken into, and he also worries about his ability to support his family until he can replace his tools.
Whoever is responsible for the thefts was selective about what they pilfered. Lawrence scanned the shop as he spoke, noticing bare spots on walls and shelves where his things – a GI Joe doll, Pulp Fiction action figures, a switchblade comb – were when he went home for the night Tuesday.
“It’s difficult. I had a ’60s GI Joe replica in a box taken … a lot of people comment on when they come in here and there are other things that were taken that are just very personal things,” he said. “Just my tools and my collectibles. The thing is, they took my tools and my blending shears that I’ve had since I was in barbering school. Those are the biggest, ugliest things, but yeah, I have a lot of collectibles in here and they took them.”
Lawrence said he’s been “financially strapped” and unable to afford insurance for the business.
“Even if we had insurance, unfortunately it wouldn’t be quick enough to help open up the shop tomorrow,” Kim said.
As he took stock, merchants from nearby businesses, friends and relatives who’d heard the news stopped in offering condolences and donations.
An online fundraiser was immediately set up and can be viewed at http://www.gofundme.com/f/help-barber-dave-recover-from-theft.
Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said an undisclosed amount of cash from a float kept on the premises was also taken.
Police hope the public can help track down some of the items, especially the tools, which included a black Wahl fast speed clipper, burgundy Oster Titan clipper and a burgundy Oster T edger.
“We’re actively pursuing this crime and we’re hoping the public can assist us,” O’Brien said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 To remain anonymous call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or submit a tip online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.