After fourth burglary, Seattle shop owner debates calling it quits

SEATTLE — A South Seattle store owner said it may be time to call it quits after burglary number four.

Monday morning, thieves smashed the front of QT Market, carted away the ATM and stole thousands of dollars in merchandise. After serving the Mt. Baker neighborhood for the past decade, owner Bezunesh “Bella” Woldemarieam said running her small business has become too dangerous.

“For me, it’s hard to leave this area,” Woldemarieam said. “I’m really done, but I have no idea where to go.”

She said she has tried everything: bolstered security, cut back the number of hours the business is open, but still she feels like a sitting duck.

“I work hard and then somebody comes and in five minutes, took everything,” she said.

Loyal customers tell KIRO 7, that Woldemarieam does far more for the community than sell reasonably priced sandwiches and snacks. QT Market is a place for locals to gather and catch up. Many are encouraging her to stay.

“Bella is part and parcel of our community here,” customer Lisa Davis said.

“If she wasn’t here, this place would go downhill,” customer Don Ackerman said.

Despite neighbors’ love and support, Woldemarieam said she feels this latest break-in may be the final straw.

“I’m the one who paid the price,” she said. “I know they try helping me, but it doesn’t cover everything.”