2 East Bay businesses burglarized but keeping doors open

Surveillance video showed how a thief scrambled to find anything of value during a break-in at an East Bay dance studio.

What the clip did not show was the damage left behind.  Clayton Valley Dance Academy in Concord was ransacked. There was broken glass. 
Shelved items were left all over the flood and more.

Sarah Brinkman, who is the owner, director and instructor, said the studio is like a second home and her 350 students are like family.

"This is the door that was shattered," said Brinkman as she pointed to plywood covering the glass window and door that were shattered.  

The burglary happened Saturday about 6 a.m. 

Brinkman said she arrived about an hour later to open up the business and saw the damage.

"Initially, my stomach turned and my heart dropped.  I wasn't really prepared for what I was going to see inside," Brinkman said.

 The items stolen included small electronics, ower tools, performance supplies and gift cards.

"I'm sad for my families, my dancers.  Just puts an unsettling feeling in our stomachs, our place of joy and excitement," said Brinkman. 

Next door, the Cali Kid Corals aquarium store was also burglarized.

The manager said the thief stole petty cash, aquarium lights and also shattered the front window and door.  

He estimated the break-in caused $8,000 in damage.

But business opened as usual, as did the dance academy.

Classes went on as scheduled.

One student who also teaches at the academy, says she's extra alert.

"I'm definitely watching out through the window all the time  seeing if interesting people are walking by," said Abigayle Callahan, who is a dance student and also teaches at the studio.  

The owner said she kicked off a week-long holiday celebration with students and their parents as scheduled despite the break-in.

"To have that sense of insecurity and safety breach, it's terrible.  But our kids are resilient . They're resilient," said parent Shawn Einck, whose 8-year-old daughter is a student.  

Brinkman said it was resiliency that helped her through the pandemic shutdown. 

She says in-person dance classes resume fully only four months ago in August.

"Just when we're getting back to somewhat normal, this happens. This is a huge expense for a small business trying to stay open the past two years," said Brinkman. "If you see something or  hear something, say something or call someone. Because especially small businesses like us, we need help when something like this happens."  

She estimates the loss to be $14,000 and that insurance won't cover most of it. 

But Brinkman said having survived the pandemic, she's determined to bounce back.

Amber Lee is a reporter with KTVU. Email Amber at Amber.Lee@Fox.com or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on Facebook @AmberKTVU,  Instagram @AmberKTVU  or Twitter @AmberKTVU