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Salt Lake City business takes the high road with theft suspects

Posted at 1:27 PM, Aug 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-30 15:27:16-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A Salt Lake City business more than a century old is taking the high road, despite being targeted by vandals several times.

UWM Men's Store on West Temple still has duct tape and plywood on its front door from the last act of vandalism, the fourth time the store has been hit in the last year.

Someone threw a rock through the window and stole a formal suit off one of their mannequins, says UWM President B. J. Stringham, who has an empathetic response to the vandal.

“I was thinking how is this their best course of action, like what must their life have looked like. And so I felt a lot more compassion whereas I was feeling frustration," he says.

Ironically, Stringham's business has been giving back to men in need since 2016 through its program, "Suited for Good." More than 1,500 men have received free suits from the program.

But instead of getting angry, “one of our associates that we work with here said 'Hey, we should put up a letter to our smash-and-grabber and just invite him to apply for our Suited for Good program,'” said Stringham.

That life-sized letter now hangs in one of the broken windows, encouraging the so-called "snatch and grabber" to apply to Suited for Good.

But Salt Lake City police say business burglaries are up ten percent.

"We hope businesses will do things to deter someone from wanting to take advantage of the opportunity to burglarize or vandalize the business, such as security cameras, lights, and signs," said Salt Lake City Police Sgt. Mark Wian.

While Stringham’s business has cameras, he says they haven’t helped them find suspects, but he's hoping the new letter will appeal to their humanity instead.

"I hope it doesn’t come to where we have to put down the grates. I don’t visualize Salt Lake City as that city.”