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Downtown Maple Ridge store closing due to crime, drug use

Emerald Moon Metaphysical will shut its door at end of May
Chris D’Andrea is closing his Emerald Moon metaphysical store due to downtown crime and drug use. (Neil Corbett/The News)

Street drugs and crime are driving another business out of downtown Maple Ridge.

Under one of the numerous social media posts showing people smoking hard drugs in a Maple Ridge doughnut shop, the owners of Emerald Moon Metaphysical commented that the situation downtown is forcing them to close their doors.

READ ALSO: Video of Maple Ridge doughnut shop drug use goes viral

Chris D’Andrea explained to The News that he’s tired of dealing with thieves, and a major theft at his business was his breaking point after operating in the community for nine years. Afterward, he spent two months sleeping in the small shop on Dewdney Trunk Road, that sells crystals, gemstone jewelry, incense, and harem pants.

On Oct. 6, 2023, before 5 a.m., a couple broke into his store and grabbed $37,000 worth of inventory.

Security cameras show they were behind the building using drugs, left briefly with a shopping cart, then returned with a large bar to pry open his back door. They got inside, and appeared to pack away rings and other jewelry.

D’Andrea said he heard the alarm and raced to the store, meeting police there.

Looking at the video, he realized the woman who had burgled him had distinctive scarring around her mouth. His wife had talked to her just four days prior, and had given her a gift from the store. Days later she returned to rip off the business.

Distraught, D’Andrea and his wife went for a drive, and by fortune came across the couple at 207th Street, near Value Village. They were embracing, leaning into each other, and appeared to both be extremely high.

He phoned police. The responding officer asked how he could be sure it was the couple who had robbed him hours earlier. He showed the officer the video from the break-in hours earlier, and the officer agreed it was them.

The police recovered about one-third of the items stolen from the store, which were easily identifiable by their price tags.

“They did let them go, right in front of me, which was upsetting,” noted D’Andrea, saying there would be no deterrent from them breaking into another business.

He took on the uncomfortable task of personally guarding the store at night, sleeping there until the negative feelings from the break-in subsided.

“I was angry and on guard,” he said.

He would drive up to people sleeping around the building, put his headlights on them, and tell them to move along. Sometimes he knows them.

D’Andrea grew up in Maple Ridge, an MRSS grad of 2004, and he sees people who he knew from school who are now struggling with addiction. He has lost friends and family to the opioid epidemic.

He worked as a plumber for nine years, and then opened his metaphysical store.

He has dealt with the street population a lot, giving them food, and even putting a blanket over sleeping people. He believes what he sells.

“I’m in the work of energy and love.”

But there are times when he is forced to call police, bylaws, or Westridge Security to help deal with a problem. He finds Westridge, who work evenings, great to deal with.

“I love them. They’re not aggressive, but they’re stern, and they move people along.”

Three times he has paid $2,000 out of his own pocket to repair shattered windows. He and his staff regularly deal with people trying to rip off the store. He recalls a woman who brazenly took items from his store, and when he caught her, she argued with him. Only after she left could he make a citizen’s arrest, and retrieve the items. It wears on him.

He said the problems that Maple Ridge has with crime and drug use are obvious, but far from unique.

“It’s not just here though, it’s everywhere, it’s every city.”

Now his family has decided it’s no longer a positive place to be. He has already laid off his four employees, and at the end of May, the store will close. They are still deciding what to do in the long term.

“I’m not leaving the industry entirely yet,” he said, noting they will be doing gem shows and live sales.

He will also do a sort of pilgrimage, “inner soul work,” that will involve his family of four.

“If we find a community we like in Costa Rica [for example], we’ll set up there,” he said. “Who knows what’s next.”

Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

I have been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
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