MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Highland Heights flower shop owner says thieves have forced her to close her Summer Avenue business for good.
Dr. Telisa Franklin said someone broke into Flowers & More early Wednesday morning and took some large shop fans, computers, kitchen equipment, and other items from her store.
Franklin said the burglar or burglars got in through a back window boarded up after previous break-ins. She said over the last six months, her flower shop has been targeted by thieves at least twenty times.
“They have vandalized me from the outside to the inside, and they just keep breaking in,” said Franklin. “I’ve spoken with the police several times. There were times when they broke in, and I was like, you know, I’m not even calling the police because I don’t have an hour or two to sit here and wait. There is nothing that’s going to be done, and it is what it is.”
Franklin said the break-ins started in April when criminals stole her security lights and cameras and returned days later and broke inside.
Since then, thieves have taken more office equipment, flowers, foam, ribbons, and other items used to do business and damaged a large walk-in fridge. She said the break-ins essentially halted her business right before Mother’s Day and the prom season.
“I had a viable business. We were able to employ people. It was a great floral business. The community loved it, but unfortunately, the criminals kept coming in. It’s a never-ending cycle,” she said.
Franklin, who is also a minister and Juneteenth historian speaker, said thieves also took boxes of Junteteeth t-shirts and a printing press in the business.
Wednesday, she saw a man in the neighborhood wearing one of the t-shirts. He told her he bought three of the shirts from a man on the street for $5 each.
“So, I have these billboards all over the city saying you’re amazing, God loves you. I’m always trying to spread God’s light, right? And it’s like I get tested,” Franklin said.
Franklin believes the criminals are coming from the neighborhood. Wednesday afternoon, Memphis officers were investigating a double shooting right behind her store on Faxon.
Dr. Franklin said she plans to move everything out of the flower shop and decide later what to do with the building she owns. She said business owners like herself need more help from the courts, police, and the community to stop these kinds of crimes.
“As a community, we have to stop buying these stolen items because it’s affecting someone else. So, the community needs to be held accountable. Our law enforcement probably needs more backing,” said Franklin. “I have spoken to so many police officers, and they said to Telisa we can lock them up, but they’re out the next day if not that night.
Franklin said she got a picture of one of the suspects, but so far, police have not made any arrests. If you can help investigators, call CrimeStoppers at 901-528-CASH.