Sometime after The Royal on Baker closed on Monday night and before it opened the next morning, it appears someone donkey-kicked the door to their kitchen open, stole their recording equipment and made off with approximately $800 in cash.
“This couldn’t have happened at a worse time,” said proprietor Dale Arsenault, who has been trying to rejuvenate the formerly thriving venue as a community service after an ugly legal battle hobbled the venue and stripped it of its liquor license.
“They got both floats, the tills, all our fives and tens and change. Luckily I’d just paid the staff with all the 20s, but he still got away with about 800 in cash.”
The robber also made off with their DVR recording equipment, which would have caught the crime on camera. Arsenault believes the person was familiar with their establishment and may have even been on staff at some point.
“The Nelson police came and took pictures, the RCMP came did their thing too. We’ve got some good footprints, but if he’s wise he’ll just get rid of his footwear.”
The crime appears to be the work of a large, strong individual. The door was busted off its hinges by the repeated kicks and was still hanging from its frame when the Star visited Tuesday.
“It just looks like one set of prints, from one strong person and he just gave it over and over. He also tore out some drywall, right by the liquor room. He got cash out of there too, though he didn’t take any liquor, I noticed.”
Arsenault expressed relief that no musical equipment was stolen. He is on the cusp of finally achieving his full liquor license, which has been a slow multi-month process. In the meantime he’s been hosting a variety of community concerts, including a recent show from Jack Mercer and the Whiskey Bandits.
Arsenault expressed concern for the individual involved. “I think it was for drugs. He just needed cash and needed it now, because he didn’t touch anything else.”
Steve Kirby, owner of Max and Irma’s, said his establishment was broken into on the same night.
“When I came in there was stuff on the ground that shouldn’t have been there. It looked like they came in the back,” he said.
Though it occurred the same night, they did not see similar destruction.
“They got away with a fair amount of booze, probably $400 or $500. I get sad about it more than anything. Well, mad is in there as well.”
The culprits also made away with approximately $300 in cash.
Sgt. Dino Falcone of the Nelson Police Department said they don’t know if the two events were linked.
“The investigation is active and ongoing. We did have a forensic ident team attend and take evidence. We have a pretty good track record here,” said Falcone, expressing confidence they would nab the culprit.