By Waldy Diez SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – Voltage Video Games in downtown Syracuse remains open and positive after being robbed for the second time this year.
The East Jefferson Street store was first robbed in February.
Two burglars broke through the glass door of the store, as well as vandalizing the window early on the morning of May 27.
“When they broke in, they also spray-painted “gay” on our window,” Assistant Manager Alex Burun said. “We had a response to that with our own little sign next to that and on the door, just to kind of alleviate some of the stress.”
The staff’s spray painted response read, “dear vandalist: so what?” with a rainbow separating the two phrases.
Owner and Manager Mike Saltzman, doesn’t believe the act of vandalism was a hate crime.
“Maybe they just don’t like us, and that’s the first insult that came to mind,” Saltzman said.
However, he still believes it is offensive.
“From my stand point, it’s pretty insulting,” Saltzman said. “I have gay friends; I have gay family members. All of us here feel that attacking gay people or using that as an insult is kind of tantamount to hate speech.”
The staff posted a statement and photos to their Facebook page. Burun says the support is overwhelming, which generated more than 110 shares and dozens of comments.
“A lot of our customers, friends, have had a really great response so far,” Burun said.
The burglars stole several live generation gaming systems, loose game discs, and game controllers. Saltzman says the total retail value lost was about $1,500.
The door replacement will also cost them about $1,000, according to Burun.
Saltzman also owns a second store on East Seneca Street in Manlius where he says he’s never had this problem at that store.
“That’s definitely an area that would be a little bit more challenging to break in,” he said.
He attributes this to the strong glass front, nicer area, its harder accessibility, and increased security cameras.
He doesn’t take the negative criticism of being in downtown Syracuse to heart.
“You can have a store located anywhere and have these problems,” Saltzman said.